ChemChina agrees to buy German machinery maker KraussMaffei

The headquarters of China National Chemical Corporation in Beijing.
The headquarters of China National Chemical Corporation in Beijing.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - China National Chemical Corp. agreed to buy German machinery maker KraussMaffei Group from Canada's largest buyout firm in a deal valued at about US$1 billion (S$1.44 billion) to help the Chinese state-controlled company upgrade its expertise in manufacturing plastics and rubber.

China's biggest chemicals company will make the transaction at an enterprise value of 925 million euros (S$1.44 billion) from Onex Corp. and its affiliates, according to a statement on Monday. ChemChina, as the company is known, will team up with Guoxin International Investment Corp. and Henry Cai's AGIC Capital in the deal, which is expected to be completed during the first half of the year, according to the statement. 

The purchase adds to ChemChina's emergence as one of the country's most ambitious deal-makers after buying or investing in assets in Italy, France, Norway, the U.K. and Singapore in the past few years, including tiremaker Pirelli & C. SpA.

More recently, the company offered to buy Syngenta AG at a price that could value the world's largest producer of pesticides at about 43.7 billion francs (S$63 billion), a person familiar with the matter has said.

KraussMaffei, which generated revenue of about 1.1 billion euros in 2014, supplies machines that process and produce plastics and rubber, with customers in industries ranging from automotive to consumer goods and pharmaceuticals. It has about 4,500 employees globally, of which 2,800 are based in Germany. The brand is also used by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG, the maker of military vehicles formed in 1999 when KraussMaffei sold its defense operations to Wegmann.

Retain Employees ChemChina said after the deal, China's biggest acquisition in Germany, the company will retain KraussMaffei's management and employees, with the headquarters remaining in Munich and operations staying in Europe. KraussMaffei also intends to repay its 260 million-euro bond, the German company said by e-mail. ChemChina will meanwhile partially pay for the acquisition with new financing on more favorable interest terms, the spokesman said.

Buying 178-year-old KraussMaffei will bolster ChemChina's chemical machinery business and fits with the Chinese government's broader plans to upgrade its manufacturing sector over the next decade, ChemChina Chairman Ren Jianxin said in the statement.

Canada's Onex, which invested 276 million euros in KraussMaffei in 2012, will receive proceeds of about 670 million euros, according to the buyout firm in a separate statement.

Barclays Plc advised Onex on the sale, while Germany's Hengeler Mueller and China's Fangda Partners provided legal advice. Standard Chartered Plc advised ChemChina.