Fourth business unit for ALTANA Chemie


Altana Chemie AG has signed an agreement to acquire the Eckart GmbH & Co. KG, headquartered in Fürth/Germany. ECKART, an international specialty chemicals group, is a leading manufacturer of metallic effect pigments and metallic printing inks. In 2004, the company achieved a sales volume of EUR302 million and operating earnings (EBITDA) of EUR65 million. ECKART employs about 1,850 people worldwide. With an EBITDA margin of 21%, ECKART is one of the most profitable specialty chemicals companies worldwide. After approval by the relevant antitrust authorities, the company's economic integration into ALTANA's Chemicals division is planned to take place in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The gross purchase price of the ECKART group is EUR630 million ("cash and debt free" basis). In addition to the company value of about EUR560 million, which represents an EBITDA multiple of 8.6, the purchase price covers a tax step-up of around EUR70 million. The payment will be effected entirely in cash. The acquisition is expected to have a positive impact on ALTANA's earnings from the second full year of business after the transaction onwards (measured in terms of earnings per share).

ALTANA Chemie will acquire the entire business of the worldwide leading manufacturer of metallic effect pigments for applications in paints and printing inks, plastics and cosmetics as well as technical applications. In addition to the acquisition of new products and technologies, ALTANA Chemie will also get access to new customers and markets, especially from the cosmetics and the building and construction industries.

ALTANA Chemie AG will maintain all product fields, sites and employees. ECKART will be maintained as an established brand and will become the fourth business unit of ALTANA Chemie AG. With the ECKART acquisition, the new ALTANA Chemie is expected to achieve a pro forma sales volume of about EUR1.2 billion and an EBITDA margin of about 20% of sales. There will be eight new production sites and the number of ALTANA Chemie's employees will rise to significantly over 4,000.

The purchase of the highly profitable specialty chemicals provider represents the largest acquisition in the ALTANA Group's history to date. "With its given global presence in attractive specialty markets, our Chemicals division is now positioned in such a way that it will make sense to separate it as an independent and listed company", said Dr. Nikolaus Schweickart, President and CEO of ALTANA AG. "After ECKART's integration into ALTANA Chemie, we will therefore establish the ALTANA Chemie AG as an independently operating and separately listed company in the course of 2006. We will offer our shareholders an attractive package", continued Dr. Schweickart. He announced that details on the further line of action would be given in due course.

ALTANA Pharma is also intended to operate independently and as a separately listed company in the future. A further strengthening of the Pharmaceuticals division will be achieved through its development of new innovative products, but also by means of acquisitions, co-operations and alliances. "For that end, an amount of more than EUR1 billion is available to the company, partly through the mobilization of non-core business segments", said Dr. Schweickart.

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