Albemarle Corp. is selling its polyolefin catalysts and components business to W.R. Grace & Co. for about $416 million in a deal that splits off part of Albemarle's Baton Rouge operations.
The sale is the latest in a series of changes that have reduced Albemarle's presence in Baton Rouge, including the loss of its headquarters. Under the deal, Grace will assume the lease and operations of Albemarle's product development center in Baton Rouge and a site in South Korea. Grace said about 175 employees at the two facilities will join its team.
The sale is subject to regulatory approval, but Albemarle said it expects to close the deal in the first three months of 2018.
Luke Kissam, Albemarle’s chairman, president and CEO, said the deal shows the company’s commitment to managing its portfolio of chemical operations in the best interest of shareholders and employees.
“Grace is highly-qualified and well-positioned within the industry to drive these products to future success,” he said in a statement.
Albemarle’s polyolefin catalysts are a global leader in the industrial production of common plastics. The deal also includes a series of catalysts for polyethylene production.
'I am excited about the opportunities created by adding the talent, advanced technology, and manufacturing capabilities of the business,” said Fred Festa, Grace chairman and chief executive officer. “Both the catalysts and activators product lines are tied to high-growth applications.”
Albemarle is keeping the organometallics and curatives portions of the performance catalysts solutions business.
Grace, based in Columbia, Maryland, has about 3,700 employees in 30 countries.
Previously, Albemarle announced during the summer it was closing its downtown Baton Rouge office, where it housed about 200 employees and moving the workers to Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 2015 Albemarle announced it was moving its corporate headquarters from Baton Rouge to Charlotte. The company made the move in 2016. At the time, Albemarle officials said the company still would have about 500 employees in Baton Rouge: 250 downtown providing support operations, and a similar number doing research and development and manufacturing operations at its process development center on Gulf States Road.