Cristal buy-out key date passes as £1.3b deal still pursued by US giant

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 1 Oct 2018

Talks are continuing over the sale of a Cristal plant in the US that could pave the way for Tronox to complete its acquisition of the Saudi-owned business, despite an exclusivity period expiring.

A 75-day window was allotted under a memorandum of understanding with rival firm Venator Materials back in July.

The proposed sale is a potential olive branch to gain US Federal Trade Commission approval for the purchase of Cristal, which has a sprawling South Humber Bank titanium dioxide plant at Stallingborough, employing 400 people.

It would ease anti-competition fears across the pond, with a sale of a Dutch facility recently appeasing Brussels officials, leading to European approval for the deal.  

In the latest statement, New York Stock Exchange-listed Tronox said: “Tronox continues to discuss the possible divestiture of the Ashtabula TiO2 complex as a settlement and potential remedy to allow completion of its acquisition of Cristal to be consummated.”

It follows the granting of a preliminary injunction by a US court to the FTC last month preventing the company completing the £1.27 billion deal to create the world’s biggest titanium pigment producer. 

The US go-ahead is the final requirement, with all other territories either operate in globally giving the backing required.

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