Britain’s largest private company, Ineos, has splashed out $700m (£528m) to buy a US chemicals producer, making it the second largest producer of titanium dioxide in North America.
The takeover of the National Titanium Dioxide Company Limited (Cristal) from Tronox propels Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company into the pigments market for the first time.
“This is a great opportunity for Ineos to enter the pigments market and become the second largest producer of titanium dioxide in the key North American market,” Ratcliffe said.
The deal gives Ineos two plants producing the chemical, a white pigment used in paints, varnishes, paper and plastics. Its brightness makes it the world’s most widely used white pigment, Ineos said.
The sale is part of an agreement that will allow titanium dioxide giant Tronox to acquire Cristal’s global titanium dioxide business after a deal with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Ineos said it has support from Cristal and Tronox’s North American customers, but the wider deal is subject to US approval.
Ashley Reed, chief executive of Ineos Enterprises, said: “This is a great opportunity for Ineos to enter the pigments market, by acquiring a competitive business, with excellent people and assets.
“Ineos has a strong track record of manufacturing excellence, running its businesses safely and reliably and working closely with customers to meet their growth aspirations.”