Total prepares to sell specialty chemicals division Atotech, for around €3 bn

French energy giant Total SA has begun preparations to sell its specialty chemicals and equipment division Atotech, which may be valued at about €3 billion ($3.4 billion), Reuters today reported, citing unnamed sources.

The sale would see Total completely exiting from the specialty chemicals business after it sold Paris-based adhesives company Bostik in 2014 to Arkema for a reported €1.71 billion ($2.5 billion).

The Paris-based oil and gas company had said in February  that it would sell non-core assets worth about $4 billion this year. Last month CEO Patrick Pouyanne said that Atotech no longer fell within the company's strategic vision, the report said.

About a dozen private equity firms are keen on buying Atotech, which is expected to be sold to a buyout group as there are no obvious strategic buyers, the report added.

Atotech was founded in 1993, when the Elf Atochem Group merged its M&T Harshaw operations with the Schering Electroplating Division, which had a long history in electroplating dating back to 1901.

It is one of the world's leading suppliers of specialty chemicals, equipment, service and solutions for printed circuit board manufacturing and advanced packaging in electronics, as well as decorative and functional surface finishing in general metal finishing.

In addition to its core business units of Electronics and General Metal Finishing, its other business units 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, fashion sector.

The Berlin-based company operates in more than 40 countries in all important industrial regions of the world, and generates annual sales of about $1 billion.