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Polypore sells itself; battery separators to Asahi Kasei for $2.2B, separations media to 3M for $1B

Asahi Kasei projects significant growth in demand for Li-ion battery separators in the automotive segment. Source: Asahi Kasei. growth in Click to enlarge.

Polypore International, Inc., a manufacturer of microporous membranes, signed definitive agreements for its sale. 3M will acquire the assets of Polypore’s Separations Media segment for approximately $1.0 billion; as an integrated step in the transaction, Asahi Kasei Corporation, through a US subsidiary, will then purchase what remains of Polypore for $60.50 per share in cash. Asahi Kasei will receive the cash proceeds from the sales of the Separations assets to 3M.

Polypore’s energy storage business comprises two main elements: Celgard Li-ion battery separators and Daramic lead-acid battery separators. Asahi Kasei said that Polypore is a compelling fit with its own electronic materials business, led by its Hipore lithium-ion battery separator with applications in energy storage for both consumer electronics and automotive applications.

Polypore has established a global platform for its LIB separator business, with production plants in the US, South Korea, and China, and products that complement Asahi Kasei’s strategies and objectives. The combination of the LIB separator businesses of the two companies will enable the further development of more sophisticated products, which will contribute to the advancement of LIB technology and performance and lead to accelerated growth and value creation, Asahi Kasei said.

Furthermore, the addition of Polypore’s lead-acid battery separator business, which has production plants in the US, Thailand, France, Germany, India, and China, will reinforce Asahi Kasei’s energy storage material businesses as a comprehensive supplier of a wide range of materials that meet diverse energy solution needs.

We are very excited to be joining forces with Polypore, an esteemed player in energy storage. The Environment & Energy is an area of strategic focus for us as we expand and grow, creating new value for the future. We look forward to combining our respective strengths in battery separator technology, achieving new innovations that contribute to solutions to the world’s environmental and energy challenges.

—Toshio Asano, President & Representative Director of Asahi Kasei

Asahi Kasei has identified Environment & Energy, Residential Living, and Health Care as three areas of medium-term strategic focus to leverage its existing technological and business competencies for expansion and growth.

The company anticipates significant growth and innovation will be required in energy storage, especially in automotive applications, against a backdrop of increasing motorization in emerging countries and heightening worldwide demand for eco-friendly cars such as electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. Further growth is expected from the increasing need for high-performance stationary energy storage systems to enable more efficient utilization of renewable energy.

The definitive agreements require that the sale of Polypore and the integrated sale of the Separations Media segment close after closing conditions for both transactions have been satisfied and that the closings of the transactions are conditioned upon one another.

The per share consideration represents an enterprise value for Polypore of approximately $3.2 billion and a premium of approximately 24% over the volume weighted average share price for the twenty trading days up to and including 20 February 2015. The transactions have been approved by the Boards of Directors of Asahi Kasei, 3M, and Polypore, and are subject to certain customary regulatory and Polypore shareholder approvals.


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