Albemarle Corporation offers EUR 625 million for Akzo Nobel's refinery Catalysts business

Akzo Nobel has received an offer from Albemarle Corporation for the sale of its refinery catalysts business for EUR 625 million, free of cash and debt. Akzo Nobel announced its intention to divest this business in September 2003 in order to create more room to maneuver for the Company. Closing of the transaction is expected to be in the second quarter of 2004. The deal involves all assets and all current employees of the business, including shares in joint venture companies. Employee representative bodies and unions have been informed and consultation procedures will commence shortly, where applicable. The required regulatory approvals will be sought as and when appropriate. Hans Wijers, Chairman of Akzo Nobel's Board of Management, said: "We are pleased with the speed at which we have been able to proceed with this divestment and that the offer we have received reflects the value of the business. Catalysts is an excellent and innovative business manned by creative people making positive contributions to refinery efficiency and the reduction of emissions. We are confident that Albemarle will continue to develop the business." Mark C. Rohr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Albemarle, said, "The critical mass in catalysis represented by our proposed acquisition of the Akzo Nobel business provides a strong technology foundation, positioning us well for sustainable growth in the refinery market. Refiners are increasingly challenged to provide higher quality fuels, the market is globalizing, and we will have the technology and innovation capability to serve more than 750 refineries worldwide facing these issues." Cornerstones of the Catalysts business are the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Catalysts (FCC) and Hydro Processing Catalysts (HPC), used in the oil refining process. Globally, the business has a leading position in both product areas. Other catalysts, such as those for isomerization and alkylation, are also marketed or under development. Sales in 2003 amounted to some EUR 350 million, while EBITDA for the same period was EUR 87 million inclusive of income from non-consolidated joint ventures. Production sites for FCC and HPC catalysts are in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Pasadena (Texas, United States). Chemical Processing Catalysts (CPC) are produced in Amsterdam. The BU has 50% owned, non consolidated joint ventures in Brazil (FCC SA,) France (Eurecat, with affiliates in the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Italy) and Japan (Nippon Ketjen). The business currently has its main office in Amersfoort (The Netherlands) and regional offices in Houston (Texas, U.S.) and Singapore. Research centers are located in Amsterdam and Pasadena. Employees total some 825 worldwide.

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