Fresh Ink

Altana Chemie AG Acquires Eckart GmbH


Altana Chemie AG, the specialty chemicals division of Altana AG, has signed an agreement to acquire Eckart GmbH & Co. KG, Furth, Germany for €630 million ($765 million).
Eckart, an international specialty chemicals group, is a leading manufacturer of metallic effect pigments and metallic printing inks for applications in paints and printing inks, plastics, cosmetics and technical applications. In 2004, the company achieved a sales volume of €302 million ($412 million) and operating earnings (EBITDA) of €65 million ($88 million). With an EBITDA margin of 21 percent, 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.  
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.  
 “The acquisition of Eckart is associated with an attractive synergy potential since we will be able to open additional growth possibilities and make optimum use of Altana Chemie’s existing areas of competence and structures,” said Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, president and CEO of Altana Chemie AG.
“Altana Chemie is the ideal partner for us,” said Carl Friedrich Eckart, managing partner of the Eckart group. “On the one hand, the group maintains first-rate contacts in international markets. It has an enormous know-how of product applications and the necessary financial power to drive forward ongoing innovation and expansion processes. Furthermore, Altana can look back on a long family tradition, just like Eckart, and its corporate culture is very similar to ours. Therefore, the acquisition will safeguard the long-term future of our company. This is good news for all Eckart customers and employees. Eckart will be in good hands with Altana.”
Eckart employs approximately 1,850 people, and Altana Chemie’s employees will now rise to significantly more than 4,000. 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, which overall is expected to achieve a pro forma sales volume of about €1.2 billion ($1.46 billion) and an EBITDA margin of approximately 20 percent of sales. In 2004, Altana Chemie generated sales of €854 million ($1.17 billion).
“With the acquisition of the Eckart group, Altana Chemie’s profitability will be strengthened even further,” said Dr. Wolfgruber.  
The purchase of Eckart GmbH represents the largest acquisition in the Altana Group’s history. “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.”