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Albemarle buying Rockwood in $6.2B deal

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Specialty chemicals company Albemarle is buying counterpart Rockwood Holdings Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $6.2 billion.

Rockwood shareholders will receive $50.65 in cash and 0.4803 of a share of Albemarle common stock for each share they own. The deal values Rockwood at $85.53 per share.

There has been some consolidation in the sector in recent years and heavyweights like Dow Chemical focus more on higher-margin specialty chemicals. To compete and lower costs, competitors are growing through significant acquisitions.

Huntsman in September announced it would spend more than a billion to acquire Rockwood Holdings, based in Princeton, N.J. The company makes specialty chemicals and advanced materials for customers including the auto, electronics and construction industries.

Cabot Corp. bought the Dutch company Norit NV for $1.1 billion to strengthen its specialty chemicals portfolio.

Eastman Chemical spent more than $3 billion on Solutia, a St. Louis company that makes materials and specialty chemicals used in the automotive and architectural industries.

Albemarle Corp., based in Baton Rouge, said Tuesday that it expects about $100 million in annual cost savings by 2016 through its acquisition of Rockwood. It anticipates maintaining its current quarterly dividend and lowering debt in the near-term.

Albemarle shareholders will own approximately 70 percent of the combined business, with Rockwood stockholders owning the remaining 30 percent.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which is targeted to close in the first quarter of next year. It still needs shareholder approval.

The combined company will operate under the Albemarle name. Albemarle President and CEO Luke Kissam will serve in those same roles for the combined business. The board will include eight Albemarle directors and three Rockwood directors. Jim Nokes will remain Albemarle's non-executive chairman.

Rockwood is based in Princeton, New Jersey.

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