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Rival $2bn bids emerge for the acrylics firm Lucite

By Mark Lewis
Posted 9 September 2008
Lucite, the maker of acrylic products from bathroom fittings and bus stops to Perspex signs and windows, is thought to be at the centre of at least two rival takeover bids.

The Southampton-based company was up for auction as recently as two years ago before venture capitalist owner, Charterhouse Capital Partners, pulled the sale when bids failed to match its $2.5bn asking price.

But the proposed opening of Lucite’s cutting-edge production facility in Singapore in October, appears to have flushed out offers believed to be in the region of $2bn.

The bids are widely reported to have come from Mitsubishi Rayon, and Saudi Petrochemical giant, Sipchem.

Lucite, created by the merger of the acrylics arms of DuPont and ICI in 1993, accounted for around a quarter of the acrylics market. Its new 100,000tpa Singapore factory promises to slash the cost of acetate production.

Charterhouse has owned Lucite since 1999 when it purchased the firm from ICI for $960m.

It made revenues of £849m last year, and earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation of £114m. Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch, are believed to be advising the board on the acquisition.

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