BDA’s client AXA Private Equity enters into exclusivity with Omnova Solutions to sell Eliokem

Divested Eliokem to Omnova


Business Development Asia LLC’s (“BDA”) client, AXA Private Equity, the leading European diversified private equity firm, has announced today that it has entered into an agreement granting exclusivity with Omnova Solutions (“Omnova”; NYSE: OMN), a US listed company which is a global provider of emulsion polymers, specialty chemicals and decorative and functional surfaces, with a view to selling – before December 31, 2010 – its majority shareholding in Eliokem, a global specialty chemicals company, for a total valuation of EUR227.5m.
The proposed transaction remains subject to execution of a definitive agreement, customary anti-trust approvals and financing conditions. Eliokem’s central works council (comité central d’entreprise) is currently being informed and consulted in order to deliver a final opinion on the proposed transaction. AXA Private Equity acquired its majority stake in Eliokem in October 2006.

Thanks to its strong market position in niche applications, well-diversified geographical footprint and ability to manage raw material and currency fluctuations, under AXA Private Equity’s guidance, Eliokem has outperformed its peers and shown a strong resilience through the economic crisis. Eliokem’s twelve month sales through May 2010 were EUR194m, with a strong geographical diversification – around 45% of its sales volumes having originated from high potential regions such as China, India, the Middle East, Korea, South East Asia and Oceania.

Since acquiring Eliokem in 2006, AXA Private Equity has supported the company in its dual strategy, which is focused both on niche markets with high-margin products in mature countries, and also on opportunities in growing economies. Notably, Eliokem acquired Apar Industries’ Indian Polymer Division for INR1.1bn (US$27.5m) in early 2008 (for which BDA acted as exclusive financial adviser to Apar Industries); built a second Chinese manufacturing platform in Shanghai Chemical Industry Park; and increased capacity in France with a new unit dedicated to water-based resins.

Thibault Basquin, Director, and Bruno Ladrière, Managing Director, of AXA Private Equity’s LBO Mid-cap team said, “We have enjoyed our partnership with Eliokem and its executives and have given them the committed support that embodies AXA Private Equity’s reputation. Eliokem’s success demonstrates the ability we have to grow companies with the help of our international network. Its strategy of penetrating new territories and end-markets, both organically and externally, has proven to be successful and is widely recognised by the market.”

“It is particularly satisfying that Eliokem has attracted interest from a fellow chemicals company. Omnova Solutions would be a strong partner for the company and would enable it to further grow and develop tailor-made solutions for its customers,” they added.

BDA has acted as the exclusive financial advisor to AXA Private Equity on this transaction.

BDA Deal Team:
Andrew Huntley, Senior Managing Director
Euan Rellie, Senior Managing Director
Shariq Siddiqui, Senior Associate
Christophe Walewski, Associate

About AXA Private Equity
AXA Private Equity is a leading private equity firm with US$25bn in managed assets and a global reach extending across Europe, North America and Asia. The firm offers investors the full spectrum of private equity services for every market segment: direct funds, infrastructure financing, mid cap and small cap buyouts, venture capital, co-investments, fund of funds as well as mezzanine financing. With offices in Paris, Frankfurt, London, New York, Singapore, Milan, Zurich and Vienna, AXA Private Equity supports the development and long-term growth of its portfolio companies with sustainable growth strategies and by granting them access to the AXA international network. AXA Private Equity has earned the trust of its investors by regularly supplying them with transparent performance data on its funds and portfolio companies. For further information about AXA Private Equity, please visit: www.axaprivateequity.com

About Eliokem
Eliokem is a global specialty chemicals company which supplies its industry leading products to a diverse range of end markets and applications, such as decorative paints and coatings, oilfield chemicals, cementing, rubber, plastics, automotive, textiles and toners. Eliokem is headquartered in the outskirts of Paris and has a worldwide manufacturing footprint on three continents, with five facilities located in France (Le Havre), the US (Akron), India (Valia), and China (Ningbo and Caojing). In total, Eliokem employs around 630 people across its plants, sales and technical offices located worldwide. For further information about Eliokem, please visit www.eliokem.com

About Business Development Asia
Business Development Asia LLC (“BDA”) assists multinational corporate and financial sector clients to identify and execute acquisitions, divestments, JVs, restructuring and capital raising, in Asia and internationally. The company is headquartered in New York with offices in London, Bahrain, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo. BDA employs 60 full-time professional staff across its eight offices, supplemented by a team of senior advisors around the world. BDA’s clients include Areva, AXA Private Equity, Celestica, Clariant, DIC, Ecolab, Hercules, Kennametal, Molex, Nalco, Pfizer, Rexel, Reuters, Ryder, SigmaKalon, Sun Chemical, Tredegar, WestLB, and the British Government. Further information on BDA is available at www.bdapartners.com

For more information regarding this potential transaction, please contact Andrew Huntley in London on (44) 20 7182 4514 or Euan Rellie in New York on (1) 212 265 5300