(Corrects Feb 16 story to show Bayer buying Monsanto, not vice
By John Miller
ZURICH Feb 16 Clariant's Chief
Executive Hariolf Kottmann has doused speculation the Swiss
speciality chemical maker could soon unload its plastics and
coatings business and use the proceeds to buy a big,
Kottman spun off the business, Clariant's largest with $2.5
billion in annual sales, into a separate subsidiary in 2015,
fuelling speculation about a potential sale despite assurances
that nothing would happen for at least three to five years.
Kottmann told reporters on Thursday he was not considering a
transformative deal involving the unit, concentrating instead on
smaller bolt-on acquisitions similar to oil industry deals the
company made in Texas last year for a combined 366 million Swiss
francs ($365 million).
"We have currently no project for divesting plastics and
coatings and making a multi-billion Swiss franc acquisition,"
Kottmann said at a Zurich analysts' conference after Clariant
reported full-year results.
With the chemicals sector being transformed by megadeals
including Bayer's $66 billion purchase of Monsanto and
ChemChina's $43 billion takeover of Switzerland's Syngenta,
Kottmann has often found himself defending Clariant's
In April, he said Clariant was a hunter, not prey.
While last September's Texas deals quenched Clariant's
thirst for oil services assets, Kottmann acknowledged scouting
additional North American targets that could strengthen the Care
Chemicals business, which makes ingredients for hair care,
cosmetics and lotions.
China accounted for just 8 percent of Clariant's total
revenues of 5.85 billion francs in 2016, and Kottmann said that
Consequently, Clariant has begun revamping its Chinese
business to focus on supplying more homegrown consumer goods
producers, or "local champions", which he said are wresting
business from multinationals.
The new structure foresees, among other things, Clariant
employees increasingly embedded at customers' operations for
weeks or months, an arrangement Kottmann said is unheard of in
"If you don't have this customer closeness in China, you
will never sell a single kilogramme of your product," he said.
"We strongly believe Clariant's future will be decided in Asia,
($1 = 1.0014 Swiss francs)
(Editing by Susan Fenton and Adrian Croft)