Johnson Matthey, a British catalyst, precious metals and chemicals firm with a division that provides contract manufacturing services of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to pharmaceutical companies, has bought chemical technology licence specialist Davy Process Technology from troubled former oil giant Yukos for $71m (€60m) in cash, allowing it to expand the range of catalysts it offers its customers.
The acquisition is financed out of Johnson Matthey 's existing borrowing facilities and the company believes it represents a good opportunity, combining its catalyst expertise with the capacity of Davy Process Technology (DPT) to develop advanced catalyst based processes.
Yukos bought DPT, its sister company in Switzerland and John Brown Hydrocarbons for $101m in 2001 from Norwegian group Kvaerner and was now under financial pressure to divest DPT to settle its debts with the Russian government.
Earlier this month, a Dutch court rejected an appeal by Yuganskneftegaz, the second-largest Russian oil producer, asking to freeze the Yukos mother company's foreign assets.
Claire Davidson, a Yukos spokeswoman, told In-Pharmatechnologist.com the sale of the sister Davy Process Technology operation in Switzerland is ongoing and should be completed soon.
"Yukos spent $101m buying John Brown and DPT in the UK and Switzerland and earned $88m selling John Brown in 2003 and $71m selling DPT UK now," she said.
"Therefore, people will have to judge for themselves if the deal was good value for money, DPT is certainly a great company."
In the year to 31 December 2005, DPT achieved sales of $57m and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of $11m.
DPT and its former parent company Aker Kvaerner are partners with Johnson Matthey in the One Synergy alliance which provides turnkey solutions for methanol production and other synthesis gas-based processes.
The company develops chemical process technologies and licenses them to customers in the oil, gas, petrochemical, polymer and pharmaceutical industries.
Its principal licensed technologies include ethyl acetate, amine derivatives and synthesis gas and methanol.
With its headquarters in London, it employs around 175 people and has a purpose-built R&D centre in Stockton-on-Tees.
"The acquisition brings a great deal of knowledge and experience of process design and engineering that compliments our expertise in catalysts," said a Johnson Matthey spokeswoman.
"DPT will expand our knowledge of processes, which will enable us to continue to develop and optimise our catalyst products."
Johnson Matthey's pharmaceutical division specialises in the manufacture of low volume, high value products, especially controlled drugs.
In the US it provides contract research and development and manufacturing services to pharmaceutical companies from pre-clinical through to commercial launch.