Exclusive-US Fund KPS explored takeover offer for UK’s Elementis –sources By Reuters

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© Reuters.

By Amy-Jo Crowley and Emma-Victoria Farr

LONDON (Reuters) -KPS Capital Partners recently explored a bid for UK specialty chemicals maker Elementis but has since paused its work, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The New York-based private equity firm in December submitted an offer valuing the company at about 160p per share, but the Elementis board wanted around 180p, one of the people said.

Shares in Elementis, which makes a range of chemical and personal care products, closed at 125p on Wednesday, giving the company a market value of around 735 million pounds.

Spokespeople for Elementis and KPS declined to comment. Elementis has already rebuffed other takeover bids, in 2020 from US-based Mineral Technologies and in 2021 from Nasdaq-listed Innospec (NASDAQ:).

It follows disappointment from shareholders in Elementis in recent months over the firm’s performance.

New Jersey-based Franklin Mutual Advisors, which has an about 9.2% stake in Elementis, in September urged the board to find a buyer for the company.

It criticised the company’s “stagnant” share price and recent “value destructive acquisitions”, which it said had undermined confidence in management’s ability to drive growth.

Odyssean Capital, which has an about 3.1% stake, and Schroders (LON:) Investment Management, which owns about 3.8%, backed the request to put the company up for sale, The Times reported.

Elementis rebuffed the calls saying that an immediate sale of the chemicals group was not ideal given the “substantial value still to be realised.”

In its latest trading update, Elementis said it expects adjusted operating profit to be between $102-104 million for 2023, up from $100.5 million a year earlier. It added it remains focused on achieving an operating margin of above 19% by 2026 and its target of below 1.5 times net debt and core profit.

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