By Bruce Davis, UT Akron BureauWeinheim, Germany-Freudenberg & Co., the German holding company of Freudenberg Group, has agreed to buy polymer release agents producer Chem-Trend Inc. from its British parent. Terms of the deal were not released.Chem-Trend claims to be the world’s largest provider of mould-release and die-lubricant technologies, with sales and production facilities on five continents. According to an earlier report in Urethanes Technology magazine, about 20 percent of the firm’s business is from products for the polyurethanes sector, with the rest being split between products for the rubber and tyre-making (30 percent) and metal die-casting areas (50 percent).For Freudenberg, a diversified family company with global activities including polymer-based seals and vibration-control technology, this will be its first major venture in the chemicals field, although it does offer a line of release agents through its Kluber Lubrication division.The companies declined to comment further on the proposed acquisition until after the appropriate government authorities have given their approval.Howell, Michigan-based Chem-Trend is part of Foseco (Jersey) Ltd of Tamworth, England, with which it was grouped when both were owned during the 1990s by British lubricants producer Burmah Castrol plc. Burmah Castrol, in turn, was bought by the international oil and energy conglomerate BP Amoco plc in 2000. BP later created Foseco and a number of allied companies-including Chem-Trend-in 2001 to a company backed by British venture capital group Cinven Ltd. That deal was valued at nearly $300 million.Chem-Trend was founded in 1960 as a producer of water-based high-pressure die-casting lubricants. In the 1970s it branched into the rubber and plastics field with the development of Mono-Coat semi-permanent release agents. In the 1990s the firm added Mono-Lube tyre mould release and paint products, and acquired the Pura brand of polyurethane mould release agents from Air Products and Chemicals Inc, in 1997.”
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