German chemical producer BASF is buying Albemarle's surface treatment business Chemetall for $3.2bn (£2.24bn) in cash.
Frankfurt-based Chemetall is a global supplier of specialty chemicals used to treat the surfaces of metals and plastics, and a large part of its business is in making chemicals to protect sheet metal for cars against corrosion.
The acquisition sees BASF add to its own coatings division, which made €3.2bn (£2.5bn) in revenue last year, and is also a major player in the motor market.
BASF is the world's largest chemicals group by sales, and earlier this year was ranked as one of the top 50 companies to work for across the globe.
In February the company sold a business making industrial coatings to Akzo Nobel for €475m to focus its coatings unit more narrowly on automotive customers.
And in March, BASF was named as a potential spanner in the works for Bayer's proposed takeover of US seeds firm Monsanto.