Press release: Orkla sells Elkem to China National Bluestar
Orkla ASA has signed a binding agreement with China National Bluestar (Group) Co., Ltd (Bluestar) for the purchase and sale of Elkem. The transaction comprises Elkem Silicon Materials, Elkem Foundry Products, Elkem Carbon and Elkem Solar. According to the agreement, the sales price is USD 2 billion for Elkem before closing- and capital structure adjustments. The agreement includes the 1.5 TWh/year power contract Orkla acquired last year which will ensure that Elkem's smelting plants in Norway will have a secure and long-term competitive power base. Orkla will remain the owner of the shares in Elkem Energi AS, including its 85 % stake in AS Saudefaldene.
Bluestar is a leading China-based international chemicals and new materials company, with 2010 sales in excess of USD 6 billion and Head Office in Beijing. The company is 80%-owned by the Chinese state-owned company ChemChina, with the remaining 20 % owned by the US private equity firm Blackstone Group. Since 2006 Bluestar has performed a number of international acquisitions, including Adisseo and Rhodia's Silicones business in France, and the Australian company Qenos.
Elkem will become an important part of Bluestar's operations going forward. With this transaction Bluestar will strengthen its competitiveness in the silicone industry and broaden its footprint in adjacent markets. All of Elkem's business areas and technologies are important for supporting the booming Chinese economy and will help the country in reaching its global climate targets. Elkem Solar's technology for the highly energy-efficient and environment-friendly production of solar-grade silicon reduces the risk of emitting environmentally damaging substances and enjoys a significantly lower energy consumption than traditional technologies. Elkem is in a worldwide leading position in this new technology.
"It is important to secure that Elkem has a new owner able to further develop its potential and keep its competence and resources united. In Bluestar, Elkem will have an owner that has solid financial capacity and is well positioned in the world's largest market for metals and renewables. Bluestar has the best attributes to take advantage of the potential of Elkem's technological strength and competence", states Bjørn M. Wiggen, President and CEO of Orkla ASA."
Helge Aasen, CEO of Elkem, comments as follows: "China is or will be the biggest and highest-growth market for silicon metal, foundry products, solar-grade silicon and other products offered by Elkem. I believe that by joining forces with Bluestar Elkem will have a strong platform for promoting its technological leadership and securing a prosperous development going forward. For Elkem, with Bluestar as our new owner, we will achieve one of our main targets, namely a stronger presence in Asia in general and in China in particular. This will strengthen the position of our plants, both in Norway and in the rest of the world. In addition, Elkem will also have the opportunity to take a leading role in the upgrading and further development of Bluestar's silicon-related operations, especially in China. We look forward to working with our new colleagues from Bluestar. "
Mr Ren Jianxin, President of Chemchina and Chairman of Bluestar, sees strong potential for a combined Elkem-Bluestar organisation:
"Elkem will play an active role in promoting the international and technological management of Bluestar's business, further expanding Bluestar's silicone industry chain and improving its global competitiveness.. Combining Bluestar with Elkem will be of great benefit to both companies: For Elkem, its access to Asia, and especially China will be significantly enhanced going forward, which is a real advantage given the size and growth of China and Asia for most of Elkem's products. For Bluestar, the combination with Elkem will give them access to Elkem's excellent management experience and industry-leading technological know-how. We strongly believe in the huge potential for Elkem's new solar-grade technology with its leading energy efficiency and environmental safety characteristics. I am welcoming Elkem into the Bluestar family as I am convinced that our diversity in terms of management background and technology, industry experience, culture and regional footprint will be the source of our combined strength.
The transaction will not involve significant changes to Elkem's main structure or to the operation of its existing plants. Completion of the transaction is subject to the approval by certain Chinese and competition authorities, as well as the approval by the Norwegian authorities. Completion is expected during the 1st half of 2011.
Bluestar was assisted by The Royal Bank of Scotland as financial advisor, and Selmer and Skadden as legal advisors. Orkla was assisted by Moelis & Company as financial advisor and Thommessen as legal advisor.
A press conference will be held at Orkla`s head office at Skøyen in Oslo, today at 10.00 CET. The press conference will be webcasted at www.orkla.com.
Date: 11. jan 2011 Kl 07.01