Umicore, Sinochem in the race for Total's speciality chemicals unit Atotech

Chemicals groups, Belgium-based Umicore and China's Sinochem are among others keen in buying French oil giant Total SA owned German speciality chemicals company Atotech, Reuters yesterday reported, citing people close to the matter.

Total has asked for preliminary bids for the unit by Tuesday, which is expected to fetch more than €3 billion ($3.3 billion), the report said.

Private equity firms CVC, Cinven, BC Partners, Advent, Bain and Carlyle are expected to bid, the report added.

Total had said in February that it plans to sell non-core assets worth about $4 billion this year, and in June hired Barclays to conduct the sale of Atotech saying that it is no longer part of its core business.

Founded in 1993, when the Elf Atochem Group merged its M&T Harshaw operations with the Schering Electroplating Division, Atotech is one of the world's leading suppliers of specialty chemicals, equipment, service and solutions for printed circuit board manufacturing and advanced packaging for Electronics, as well as decorative and functional surface metal finishing.

In addition to its core business units of Electronics and General Metal Finishing, its other businessess include Semiconductor Technology and Electronics Materials.

Its customers are from the automotive, consumer electronics, sanitary, industrial/medical, construction, oil and gas, military/aerospace, household goods, furniture, jewelry and fashion industry.

The Berlin-based company employs 4,000 people, generates annual sales of about $1 billion and expects to generate EBITDA of €250 million this year.

Atotech operates in more than 40 countries with chemistry and equipment production sites in Germany, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Spain, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Japan, the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.