Interest in Courtaulds may spark bid battle

COURTAULDS, the chemicals company, which announced plans for a de-merger in February, could find itself the subject of a bid battle after announcing yesterday that it had received an approach that could lead to an offer for the group.

Attention immediately turned to Akzo Nobel, the Dutch paints group, as the likely bidder although analysts said the quality of Courtaulds coatings business could spark an auction. Interest could also come from ICI, Du Pont, Sherwin-Williams of the US, and PPG, another American company.

"This is the highest quality coatings business that has come on to the market in a decade. There will be lots of potential buyers," said Michael Eastwood, chemicals analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson.

Courtaulds shares soared 17 per cent to 456.5p on the announcement, valuing the company at pounds 1.9bn. This followed a near 8 per cent rise on Wednesday as rumours of bid interest started to swirl around the stock market. Courtaulds shares were languishing at 252p in January but have been rising sharply since the company announced plans to spin off its coatings and sealants business. Some analysts suggested yesterday that a bidder might have to pay up to 550p per share to clinch victory.

Courtaulds' coatings business would be a valuable prize at it is the world leader in the marine and aerospace industries. Its polymers division, which makes plastic packaging for toiletries and pharmaceuticals, has been put on the market. But this could also prove attractive to Akzo Nobel. It also has a polymers division which could be merged with that of Courtaulds and then spun off. Akzo has been reducing its exposure to fibres but could absorb Courtaulds viscose and Tencel fibre operations if no buyer were found for them.

Courtaulds' coating business has sales of around pounds 1bn while polymers has sales of pounds 500m and fibres and coatings pounds 250m.

Courtaulds is one of the oldest names in British business, growing out of silk weaving in the early 19th century.

It pioneered the world's man-made fibre industry in 1904 with the development of viscose rayon, and its name became linked with acetate yarns in the 1920s and Courtelle acrylic fibre in the 1950s. It diversified into coatings a decade later.

More recently it has developed Tencel, which has been hailed as a "wonder fibre" in some quarter because it feels like silk, can absorb vibrant colours and yet is tough enough to be popped in the washing machine. However, its profits have been disappointing given the scale of investment.

In February, Courtaulds announced plans for a three-way split to sell polymers and de-merge coatings and sealants. Analysts said it was the company's last chance of hanging on to its independence.

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Citifocus Ltd: Product Development - Asset Management

£Attractive: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with significant product d...

Citifocus Ltd: Credit Ratings - Banking Sector

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Leading global bank seeks experienced credit analy...

Citifocus Ltd: Economic Crime Investigation & Analysis

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with a high degree...

Citifocus Ltd: Snr Risk Analyst - Capital & Liquidity

£Attractive: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with superior academics an...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran