Crystal Crop Protection to acquire Solvay’s plant in Nagpur, India

Crystal Crop Protection has agreed to acquire a speciality chemicals plant from Cytec India Specialty Chemicals & Materials an Indian unit of Belgian chemicals firm Solvay. The manufacturing facility spread across about 10 acres of land is located in Butibori, Nagpur, Crystal Crop said in a statement. Cytec Industries Inc. was acquired by Solvay SA in 2015 for $5.5 billion. Brussels-based Solvay is a multi-specialty chemicals company with operations in 58 countries.

Singhi Advisors, a Mumbai-based investment bank focussing on niche mergers and acquisitions (M&As), was the sole adviser to Solvay Group in the transaction. This is the second transaction of Singhi Advisors with Solvay in India in this year.

Crystal Crop Protection, founded in 1994 by Nand Kishore Aggarwal, is engaged in technical manufacturing, formulation and marketing of agrochemical products like insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and plant growth regulators/micronutrients. The company has manufacturing units – two in Haryana, one in Jammu and one in Hyderabad. Crystal Crop has recently diversified into the seeds and agri-equipment businesses. It has also set up a research and development (R&D) centre focusing on molecule synthesis, formulations research, process development and bio-efficacy testing.

Crystal Crop Protection has made a number of acquisitions in the past few years. In 2011, it acquired Hyderabad-based Rohini Seeds, marking its foray into the seeds segment. In 2016, it acquired fungicide brand ‘Bavistin’ from Germany-based BASF, which has a market of size of more than Rs100 crore, according to the company.

In 2012, the company raised funding from private equity firm Everstone Capital, which invested about $30 million for a 9% stake. Mint reported in May last year that Crystal Crop Protection had begun preparations to launch an initial public offering in early 2018 to raise funds for expansion.

The India agrochemical sector has seen a number of investments in the past few years. In 2016, Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd acquired a majority stake in Mumbai-based Excel Crop. Care Ltd for $62.4 million. In 2015, Zuari Agro Chemicals Ltd acquired a controlling stake in UB Group firm Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd for $64.5 million. Also in 2015, Godrej Agrovet Ltd, a subsidiary of Godrej Industries Ltd, raised its holding to 52.28% in agrochemicals maker Astec LifeSciences Ltd.