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Tue, Apr 14, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Lucite takeover awaits regulator’s nod: Mitsubishi

BLOOMBERG

Mitsubishi Rayon Co said it was waiting for regulatory approval from one government for the US$1.6 billion takeover of UK acrylic maker Lucite International Group Holdings Ltd.

Tadashi Iwasaki, a Mitsubishi Rayon spokesman, declined to identify the country. He said nothing had changed since a March 6 statement that said the Tokyo-based company was committed to completing the acquisition as soon as possible.

The Financial Times reported yesterday that Chinese regulators had withheld approval for the takeover, citing people involved with the matter. Yao Jian (姚堅), a Chinese commerce ministry spokesman, couldn’t be reached, and other ministry officials answering the phones in Beijing declined to comment.

Mitsubishi Rayon announced the planned acquisition in November, in a deal that would give it more than a third of the global market for acrylic monomers used in products ranging from mobile-phone panels to kitchen counters. Both Mitsubishi Rayon and Lucite have sales and manufacturing operations in China, the Financial Times said.

Mitsubishi Rayon gained ¥1 to ¥214 as of 11am on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The Topix index advanced 0.43 percent.

The company has “received the necessary antitrust approvals from almost all relevant antitrust authorities with one exception where the review is still progressing,” Mitsubishi said in its March 6 statement.

Lucite and Mitsubishi Rayon “continue to take the necessary steps to expedite completion.”

Chinese regulators blocked Coca-Cola Co’s planned US$2.3 billion takeover of the country’s biggest domestic juicemaker, China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd (中國匯源果汁集團), on March 18, citing competition concerns.

Lucite, the maker of Perspex and Lucite acrylic sheet, is the successor to the acrylic businesses of DuPont Co and Imperial Chemical Industries PLC. Investment firm Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP bought the business in 1999 from DuPont and renamed it Lucite International in 2002.

Southampton, England-based Lucite has 14 manufacturing sites and 2,000 employees. It makes chemicals used in products ranging from bathtubs to golf balls.

The company has annual revenue of US$1.5 billion and customers including automaker Renault SA and Chi Mei Corp (奇美), Taiwan’s second-largest liquid-crystal display maker.

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