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Fuller buys Forbo adhesives business

Forbo has signed an agreement with H.B. Fuller Company for the sale of its industrial adhesives activities, including synthetic polymers, part of its Bonding Systems division. This transaction does not include the activities of the building and construction adhesives unit.

In the 2010 business year, the Bonding Systems division, with industrial adhesives, synthetic polymers and building and construction adhesives, posted sales of CHF 606.6 million (with industrial adhesives and synthetic polymers accounting for CHF 499.3 million and building and construction adhesives CHF 107.3 million). Bonding Systems currently has a headcount of 1,400 and production facilities in Europe, North America and Asia.

The acquisition will enhance H.B. Fuller’s position as a global leader in the adhesives industry. The business to be acquired represents about 80 percent (by revenue) of the Forbo Bonding Systems division of Forbo Group. This business will generate approximately $580 million in revenue for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2011, operates 17 manufacturing facilities in 10 countries, and employs more than 1,100 people globally. Projected EBITDA for the business for the 2011 fiscal year is CHF 31 million, or about $35 million at 2011 actual exchange rates.

Creating added value

With industrial adhesives, over the past few years Forbo has steadily expanded its presence in growth markets, reinforced its market position and developed high-value products for strategic market segments. This activity has thus become significantly more attractive within the framework of global market consolidation. Over recent months, Forbo has been analyzing the business outlook for the Bonding Systems division and reached the conclusion that additional competitive advantages and margin stability in this highly fragmented market will mainly be possible via economies of scale. The sale of this activity to H.B. Fuller allows Forbo to participate in the market consolidation and creates added value for all stakeholders.

This transaction will create one of the world’s largest market participants in the area of industrial adhesives. The sale of the industrial adhesives and synthetic polymers activities of the Bonding Systems division will be made for a price of CHF 370 million.

The transaction will be executed subject to certain conditions, including the approval of the cartel and antitrust authorities of individual countries. It is expected that the transaction will be completed as soon as March 2012.

This E. Schneider, Delegate of the Board of Directors and CEO of the Forbo Group, made the following comments: “During the past few years we have successfully driven forward the Bonding Systems division by investing in the development of new product technologies and introducing innovative and environmentally-friendly applications to the market. We have adjusted our product portfolio, won new customer segments and international key customers as well as opened up new growth markets. Due to the market environment, it would no longer be sensible to expand further alone while there would also no longer be the prospect of achieving the same level of success. We are convinced that the industrial adhesives and synthetic polymers activities will be able to successfully continue their progress under the new set-up.”

Jim Owens, President and Chief Executive Officer of H.B. Fuller, added: “The addition of Forbo’s industrial adhesives and synthetic polymers activities will significantly strengthen our market position worldwide and provide us with attractive growth opportunities over the long term. We will create synergies through the purchase of raw materials, optimally complement each other from a geographic perspective – in particular in Europe and Asia – and will thus be able to generate added value for our customers around the world and set ourselves even further apart from the competition. We believe we are the ideal owner of these combined industrial adhesives businesses and as a result of this transaction will emerge as a clear leader in the global adhesives industry.”