National Starch could soon be sold

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags National starch

Leading food starch firm National Starch could be up for a change
in ownership, following news of a possible takeover of its parent
company Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI).

Great Britain-based ICI, which is active in the coatings, adhesives, starch and polymer industries worldwide, earlier this month received a takeover proposal from the coatings and chemical firm Akzo Nobel.

According to an ICI spokesperson, the group's board is recommending that shareholders accept the offer, which could mean that the company changes hands as early as December 2007.

The proposed acquisition would see Amsterdam-based Akzo Nobel handing out $16bn for ICI.

The group also agreed that if the transaction goes through it will sell two of National Starch's non-food businesses (Adhesives and Electronic Materials) to the German adhesives firm Henkel for around $5.4bn.

The remaining two National Starch businesses - Specialty Starch and Specialty Polymers - would remain part of Akzo Nobel.

Akzo said it expects the move will make it a leading global coatings and specialty chemicals company.

It made no formal comment about the food ingredients business.

Although no specific information has as yet been released as to the future of National Starch's food activities, ICI said there were plans to carry out a "strategic review" of the business, but stressed that food and beverage customers "should not be affected".

The transaction still remains subject to a number of approval stages: first, it must be approved by Akzo and ICI shareholders, who will likely review the proposal in October or early November; it must then achieve regulatory approval, which will include a competitive review; and finally the UK court must approve the entire review process.

If all runs smoothly, the sale could occur in late 2007, early 2008, said ICI.

National Starch was unable to comment on the proposed transaction at this time.

Through its Specialty Starch business, the company produces a wide range of starch-based ingredients designed to enhance the texture, nutrition, appearance and flavor delivery in food and beverage products.

The business posted sales for 2006 of around $1bn.

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