HSBC sells Manro division

HSBC Private Equity has sold Cheshire-based Manro Performance Chemicals to Stepan Europe for an undisclosed sum. In 1996, HSBC acquired Manro Performance Chemicals and Manro SA, a Belgian chemicals company, from Hickson International. The transaction value of the management buyout of both businesses, which operate autonomously, was GBP26 million. Roughly half of this amount was equity.

Under the ownership of HSBC both businesses focused on their core customers and markets, developing and extending their range of products. Manro SA was excluded from this transaction but is offered for sale through Deloitte & Touche, which advised on the current disposal. James Roddis, investment director at HSBC Private Equity’s Manchester office, said: “We reviewed the options for both companies and identified that different buyers would be interested and that we would maximise the value by selling them separately.” Manro Performance Chemicals will now be known as Stepan UK Limited.

The company manufactures specialty chemicals and surface-active substances, known as surfactants. Its chemicals are used in applications such as soap-free cleansing agents, household detergents, metal working, industrial cleaning and skin, oral and hair care products. Based in Stalybridge, UK, the company employs 120 people and has sales revenues of $44 million (GBP30 million).

Graham Royle, chief executive of Manro Performance Chemicals, said: “The acquisition by Stepan provides critical mass, greater geographic coverage and access to a broader product portfolio. It will enable us to better support growing customer requirements.”

Stepan Europe, which has production facilities in France and Germany, is a subsidiary of Stepan Company, a chemical manufacturer headquartered in Illinois, USA. Stepan also produces surfactants used in consumer and industrial cleaning compounds. The company has divisions in North and South America, Europe and the Philippines with 1,300 employees. “The acquisition will bring new customers to Stepan and extend our service capabilities in Europe. Manro provides a strong manufacturing and marketing base to which we will add Stepan products and technologies,” said Stepan’s CEO, F Quinn Stepan.