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Air Products Selling PMD Assets to Evonik for $3.8 Billion

Air Products APD has agreed to divest the Performance Materials Division (“PMD”) of its Materials Technologies segment to German specialty chemicals company, Evonik Industries AG for $3.8 billion in cash.

PMD, which raked in $1.04 billion in revenues over the last twelve months ended Mar 31, 2016, consists of epoxy curing agents, polyurethane additives and specialty additives businesses and includes major production facilities in the U.S., Germany, the UK, China and Japan. The unit’s products are used in an array of markets including construction, marine, automotive and industrial cleaning.

Under the deal terms, operational facilities, supplier contracts, labs, contracts, customers, and employees and certain legal entities related to PMD will be transferred to Evonik.

The divestment, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected to complete before the end of 2016. Evonik plans to continue to run PMD from Allentown, PA. Air Products noted that the sale of the unit is in sync with its long-term strategy which it divulged in Sep 2014.

Air Products also plans to spin-off the Electronic Materials Division ("EMD") of its Materials Technologies segment to shareholders as a separate public company, dubbed Versum Materials. The unit, which generated sales of $974 million over the last twelve months ended Mar 31, 2016, consists of advanced materials, process materials and delivery systems businesses.

The separation of EMD is expected to close by the end of Sep 2016. Air Products will continue to assess whether debt and equity market conditions are favorable for a tax-free spin-off.

These actions will allow the company to direct resources to grow its core industrial gases business. Air Products’ shares rose roughly 1.7% in the trading session last Friday, before closing the day 0.9% higher at $144.57.

Air Products, in Sep 2015, announced plans to separate its Materials Technologies unit through a tax-free spin-off. The spin-off is consistent with Air Products’ strategy and five-point plan. It will enable the company to become the safest and most profitable industrial gas company in the world, providing outstanding service to its customers.

Air Products topped earnings expectations in second-quarter fiscal 2016 (ended Mar 31, 2016), aided by its restructuring actions. However, its sales fell year over year, hurt by currency headwinds, and lagged expectations.

Revenues from the Materials Technologies segment slipped 7% year over year in the quarter, hit by lower volumes. Sales of Electronics Materials fell 10% on lower delivery system volumes. Performance Materials’ sales dropped 5% year over year due to lower volumes and reduced pricing.

The company raised its earnings guidance for fiscal 2016 to the band of $7.40–$7.55 per share from the earlier view of $7.25–$7.50.

Air Products currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Better-ranked companies in the chemical space include Akzo Nobel N.V. AKZOY, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. Ltd. SHI and Koninklijke DSM N.V. RDSMY, all sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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