Singapore’s Keppel acquires Australian Chemical firm Ixom from Blackstone for US$565 million

Fri Nov 16, 2018 - 7:32am GMT+0000


16/11/2018 – Keppel Infrastructure Trust (KIT) on Thursday announced that it is acquiring Australian chemical firm Ixom HoldCo Pty Ltd for A$777 million (about US$565 million).

The deal was made with the management shareholders and funds from Blackstone Group, which paid A$750 million (about US$751.43 million) for the business in 2014, which was previously named Orica.

Now, KIT’s wholly owned subsidiary Keppel Infrastructure Fund Management (KFIM) will take the chemicals supplier off the Blackstone at a valuation of A$1.1 billion (about US$799.5 million).

The acquisition is expected to be completed in Q1 2019, subject to necessary approvals, including from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board and the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.

Ixom, with its subsidiaries Ixom Group, manufactures and distributes water treatment products, as well as specialty chemicals for industries including agriculture, mining, and construction. Its facilities are located in Australia and New Zealand, with dedicated third party bulk tankers in selected regions.

“The chemicals that Ixom manufactures and distributes are needed for daily life and many business,” said KIFM CEO Matthew Pollard. “It is also a sector we are familiar with given KIT, in its capacity as owner and operator, uses many of the major chemicals in our water desalination and wastewater treatment assets that are similar to those manufactured and distributed by Ixom.”

Ixom’s data processing unit (DPU) for Q3 2018 currently stands at US$0.372 and will remain unchanged, Ixom noted.

“The proposed distribution per unit yield accretive acquisition of Ixom is strategic for KIT, allowing the trust to gain a foothold in this stable sector of water treatment as well as industrial and specialty chemicals distribution,” Pollard added.

Upon completion of the transaction, KIT’s enlarged portfolio will also increase from S$3.8 billion to S$5.1 billion (about US$2.7 billion to US$3.71 billion), as per its SGX disclosure.

“The Ixom Group’s business model is aligned with KIT’s investment strategy to acquire industrial infrastructure assets that generate long-term stable cash flows with potential growth. Ixom’s value proposition extends our capabilities into the water treatment chemicals sector in Australia and New Zealand,” said KIT,

According to Keppel Infrastructure Trust manager, this acquisition will be funded through a bridge facility of up to S$750 million (about US$544.8 million) and a five-year senior term loan of A$532 million (about US$386 million).

KIT also intends to later repay the debt from proceeds raised through an equity fundraising, which nature and timing will be decided at a later date.

Sponsor Keppel Infrastructure Holdings, which is wholly owned by Keppel Corp, has undertaken to take part in the equity fund-raising to maintain its 18.2 per cent stake.