COLUMBIA, Md.--()--W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE:GRA) announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire the assets of Noblestar Catalysts Co., Ltd. Noblestar is a manufacturer of fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts, catalyst intermediates and related products used in the petroleum refining industry and is located in Qingdao, China. The terms of the investment were not disclosed. In order to complete the purchase, Grace established a new Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) in the People’s Republic of China.
“This acquisition provides Grace with immediate, local manufacturing capacity to better serve our refining customers within China and North Asia,” said Shawn Abrams, President of Grace Catalysts Technologies. “Investing in China is a part of our overall refining technologies global strategy, which includes creating an integrated manufacturing network to align FCC capacity with demand growth.” Grace expects to make additional investments at the Qingdao site for environmental, safety and manufacturing upgrades.
“This acquisition deal is a strategic disposition and repositioning of Noblestar,” said Chao Cui, CEO and President of Noblestar Catalysts. “With the closing of the deal Noblestar is able to focus its business on rare earth products. We have been happy and proud to be a business partner of Grace for years and are expecting to continue such a good relationship much longer as a supplier.”
The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, but is subject to the satisfaction of other closing conditions. Grace anticipates completing the transaction as soon as regulatory clearances have been obtained.
In March, Grace announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to form a joint venture with Al Dahra Agricultural Company to build and operate an FCC catalysts and additives plant in the Middle East. The production plant will be used to supply oil refiners in the high growth Middle East and South Asia markets and is expected to come onstream in 2015.
Grace is the worldwide leader in FCC catalysts. Last year, the business successfully introduced several low and no rare earth products to assist petroleum refiners lower their operational costs.
Grace first established a presence in China when it founded Grace China Ltd. in 1986 as the first Wholly Foreign-Owned Company to do business in the Peoples Republic of China -- through its can sealants plant in Shanghai. Currently, Grace operates 5 manufacturing facilities, 3 sales offices and 2 technical service centers in mainland China, including its Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Shanghai.
Grace is a leading global supplier of catalysts; engineered and packaging materials; and, specialty construction chemicals and building materials. The company’s three industry-leading business segments—Grace Catalysts Technologies, Grace Materials Technologies and Grace Construction Products—provide innovative products, technologies and services that enhance the quality of life. Grace employs approximately 6,000 people in over 40 countries and had 2011 net sales of $3.2 billion. More information about Grace is available at www.grace.com.
Noblestar, located in Qingdao, China, has been specialized in manufacturing of FCC catalysts and additives for petrochemicals since 2001. Noblestar has been involved in rare earth business from 2010. Noblestar employs 150 people consisted of experienced R&D and engineering professionals and a skillful worker team. It has sales of 680 million RMB (appx. 108 million USD) in 2011. More information about Noblestar is available at www.noblestar.com.cn.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements, that is, information related to future, not past, events. Such statements generally include the words “believes,” “plans,” “intends,” “targets,” “will,” “expects,” “suggests,” “anticipates,” “outlook,” “continues” or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, all statements regarding Grace’s Chapter 11 case; expected financial positions; results of operations; cash flows; financing plans; business strategy; budgets; capital and other expenditures; competitive positions; growth opportunities for existing products; benefits from new technology and cost reduction initiatives, plans and objectives; and markets for securities. For these statements, Grace claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Like other businesses, Grace is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause its actual results to differ materially from its projections or that could cause other forward-looking statements to prove incorrect. Factors that could cause actual results to materially differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements include, without limitation: developments affecting Grace’s bankruptcy, proposed plan of reorganization and settlements with certain creditors, the cost and availability of raw materials (including rare earth) and energy, developments affecting Grace’s underfunded and unfunded pension obligations, risks related to foreign operations, especially in emerging regions, acquisitions and divestitures of assets and gains and losses from dispositions or impairments, the effectiveness of its research and development and growth investments, its legal and environmental proceedings, costs of compliance with environmental regulation and those factors set forth in Grace’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly report on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, which have been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are readily available on the Internet at www.sec.gov. Reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on Grace’s projections and forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date thereof. Grace undertakes no obligation to publicly release any revision to the projections and forward-looking statements contained in this announcement, or to update them to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this announcement.