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Rhodia purchase to give Solvay emerging markets boost

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Rhodia purchase to give Solvay emerging markets boost

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Belgian chemicals group Solvay is set to take over France’s Rhodia with a 3.4 billion euros cash bid. Solvay is looking to improve sales in emerging markets and of the kind of specialty chemicals made by Rhodia.

Rhodia is big in China and Brazil and nearly half its sales came from high-growth regions last year. Among its products are engineering plastics used in cars and thickeners for hair and skin products.

The Belgians have plenty of money after selling their drugs unit to its US partner Abbott Laboratories in September 2009 for 4.5 billion euros.

Solvay Chief Executive Christian Jourquin said the two groups were complementary in terms of products and markets and the deal would reduce the cyclical nature of their business.

The offer – which is a 50 percent premium for the French firm’s shares – has been recommended by Rhodia’s board of directors.