Cognis refinancing frees up cash

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Investment Cognis

Cognis has completed a major refinancing, which brings a
considerable reduction of financing costs and improves its
liquidity position.

The private equity-owned company supplies specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients worldwide, with a particular focus on wellness and sustainability products. In 2006 it saw sales of €3.39bn - a six per cent increase on the previous year - and operating profit (EBITDA) was up 10.7 per cent to €394m. With the refinancing Cognis said it took advantage of favourable conditions in the capital markets to issue notes and loans with a face value of €1.65bn. The funds raised have been used to redeem existing bank facilities, second lien loans and rates, and around €350m of outstanding PIK notes at parent level. The result is interest savings of around €60m per year, no scheduled amortization, and an annual cash benefit of around €100m a year. CFO Klaus Edelmann said that the pricing of the notes and loans new floating rate - 200 basis points above the Euribor/Lobor rate - was at the bottom end of the target price bracket. "Interest from the markets was high and the offering was significantly oversubscribed,"​ he said. "This shows that we are seen as a reliable partner and enjoy a high level of trust in the financial markets."​ Last year Cognis reviewed its strategic options "in light of an attractive market environment".​ A spokesperson told at the time that it is normal practice for private equity owned firms to check their strategic process every four to six years. But rumours in the press that it was in advanced states of negotiations with three potential buyers proved unfounded when the group at last concluded not to put itself up for sale for the time-being. When the company posted its 2006 results in April CEO Dr Anthony Trius said, "acquisitions and investments made in the course of 2006 had helped strengthen the company's market position." ​ Amongst these was the acquisition of Norwegian omega-3 fish oil producer Napro Pharma, which allowed Cognis to expand its ingredient range for functional foods and supplements. It launched its OmeVital fish oil ingredient in Europe at the HIE trade show last November. In 2005 Cognis commissioned a €20m esterification plant at its Illertissen site in Germany - the greatest single investment the company has made in its history.

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