Umicore’s latest buyout to markedly impact internal olefins market

The latest news unfolding in internal olefins market is that of Umicore, the Belgium-based bulk and specialty chemicals industry giant, acquiring Materia Inc’s olefin metathesis catalyst operations. The deal, as per reports, is said to have been finalized at USD 27 million, and also incorporates a portfolio of catalysts based on the innovations made by the California Institute of Technology professor Robert H. Grubbs, a co-awardee of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Materia Inc, a chemical manufacturing firm based in U.S., has reportedly stated that it would now concentrate on its Proxima resins business. As per sources, Materia’s resins are considered as alternatives to polyester resins, epoxy, and vinyl ester, that are utilized in various industry verticals such as electronics, oil and gas, and composites. The company further stated that Umicore would provide catalysts for producing resins under a long-term deal.

For the record, Materia Inc, a U.S. based chemical manufacturing firm had been embroiled in a patent dispute with Evonik Industries over the validity of ruthenium-based olefin metathesis catalysts which it claimed to have been modelled on the basis of Grubbs’ discoveries. Whereas Evonik, as per sources, had argued that its patents were based on the findings of Wolfgang Hermann, a chemist from Technical University of Munich, and were launched earlier than Materia’s patents.

While elaborating further, it would be prudent to note that the latest deal follows Materia’s recent decision to license Evonik’s catalysts, as the U.S. federal court eventually ruled in favor of Evonik’s contention.

Meanwhile, Umicore issued a statement that the latest agreement would enable the firm to provide cutting-edge, patent-protected, and proprietary olefin metathesis catalysts utilized by its consumers to manufacture agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, and surfactants. The Brussels headquartered firm reportedly commands a total sales revenue of USD 13 billion and currently holds a diverse product portfolio ranging from battery materials to pollution control catalysts. Apparently, the latest acquisition is likely to broaden the bulk and specialty chemical industry behemoth’s footprint in internal olefins market, cite experts.