Exclusive Reports: Evonik in Talks to Buy Air Products' Unit for $3.5 Billion

Evonik, Germany’s second-largest chemicals firm, is in talks with Air Products and Chemicals to buy chemical operations from the U.S. industrial gases producer for as much as $3.5 billion, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the talks. Evonik, based in Essen, was in exclusive talks with Air Products to buy a business known as performance materials at the company, which makes chemicals used in sun lotion and paint, the Wall Street Journal reported late on Wednesday. A deal could be reached in the coming weeks, but there were no guarantees a transaction would be agreed upon, the newspaper said. The German company was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Handelsblatt Global Edition on Thursday. Its shares were up 1.6 percent at €27.06, or $30.56 in Frankfurt, compared with a 0.2 percent rise of the German midcap MDAX index. Over the last two years, Evonik, a rival to Dow Chemical and BASF, has looked at options to buy Dutch rival DSM and Swiss peer Clariant, according to past media reports. Air Products, based in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, plans to spin off its materials technologies business by September 2016. The unit comprises the business Evonik reportedly wants to buy, which had a turnover of $245 million in its first fiscal quarter of 2016, which ran from October to December 2015. Picture source: DPA