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Celanese And Blackstone To Form JV In Acetate Tow

Celanese Corp. (CE) and funds managed by Blackstone (BX) announced a definitive agreement to form a JV that will create a global acetate tow supplier. Celanese and Blackstone will own 70 percent and 30 percent of the JV, respectively.

As per the terms of the agreement, Celanese will contribute its Cellulose Derivatives business unit, including its equity interest in existing JVs with China National Tobacco Corporation, and Blackstone will contribute its Rhodia Acetow business unit, which it recently acquired from Solvay.

The new company is expected to generate 2017 annual pro forma revenue of approximately $1.3 billion with around 2,400 employees. The JV will have an extended global footprint that includes eight wholly-owned manufacturing facilities and three existing JV sites.

The complementary nature of the tow businesses and a combination of technology expertise will result in synergies mainly from optimization of supply chain networks and procurement of raw materials, energy, equipment, and other services.

Upon closing, the JV will be governed by a Board of Directors consisting of three directors appointed by Celanese and two by Blackstone. The board, management team, and name of the new company will be decided at a later date.

Related to this transaction, commitments for $2.2 billion of debt have been received by the partners on behalf of the JV. The debt is expected to be supported by cash generation at the JV and is largely non-recourse to Celanese and Blackstone. An initial dividend of approximately $1.6 billion will be distributed to Celanese following the formation of the JV.

Celanese is expected to deploy the proceeds in value uplift opportunities, including investment in organic growth, acquisitions, share repurchases and debt reduction.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, once approved and upon closing, Celanese is expected to consolidate JV results in its financial statements, subject to Blackstone's minority interest.

The formation of the JV is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, which will determine the timing of close. Until then, Celanese's Cellulose Derivatives and Blackstone's Rhodia Acetow will continue to operate independently.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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