ZURICH / Reuters
Clariant Chief Executive Hariolf Kottmann told investors he would update them on the Swiss speciality chemicals maker’s tie-up with new shareholder Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) by July as he seeks a recovery from a turbulent 2017.
Full-year net profit in 2017 rose 9.5 percent, short of analyst estimates, as the group was hit by one-time costs including paying Goldman Sachs to defend it against activist shareholder White Tale. The activists sold their 25 percent stake to SABIC in January, two months after scuttling Clariant’s bid to merge with US-based Huntsman.
Kottmann wants the next five months to discuss with SABIC chief Yousef Al-Benyan how their arrangement will work, including governance issues and eventual board representation. He said he expected an accord with SABIC to include restrictions on any move by the Saudi company, the world’s fourth-biggest chemicals group, to take control of Clariant.
“My colleague Yousef Al-Benyan is a very reliable and credible internationally experienced executive. He has clearly stated several times there is no interest in SABIC taking Clariant over,” Kottmann told a news conference. “This will be, let’s assume it, part of the contract.”
He added SABIC was awaiting regulatory clearance in around 10 jurisdictions for its Clariant stake. The strategy update is set to be released “in late June or early July” followed by a road show, he said. Clariant stock slipped 1 percent by 1030 GMT, extending a fall of about 15 percent since late January, when SABIC said it was becoming Clariant’s largest shareholder.