FTC gives go-ahead to Corn Products-National Starch deal

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: National starch, Subsidiary, Federal trade commission

Corn Products International has said the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has given initial approval of its $1.3bn acquisition of National Starch, with the deal expected to be finalized by early October.

In June, Corn Products International agreed to buy National Starch, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dutch specialty chemicals and coatings company Akzo Nobel. There had been uncertainty at National Starch since 2007 when Akzo Nobel acquired its parent company ICI for $8bn to boost its presence in the fast-growing coatings market. But specialty starches were not a core part of the business and an eventual sell-off was anticipated.

The FTC’s approval represents early termination of the antitrust waiting period, meaning that both the FTC and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division have completed their review and determined not to take any enforcement action during the waiting period. The deal is subject to approval in other jurisdictions before it can be finalized.

It seemed that interest in acquiring National Starch petered out in the economic downturn from October 2008, but in April 2010, it emerged that AkzoNobel had received renewed expressions of interest in the business. Candidates included Corn Products, Danisco and Associated British Foods, among others.

For Corn Products, the acquisition provides it with a new presence in markets in Europe and Australasia, as well as access to new technologies, and improved scale and capabilities in markets where it already has a presence.

National Starch already has strong business ties in Asia and Europe, and Corn Products’ CEO Ilene Gordon told this website last month that the acquisition fits well with the company’s corporate strategy to grow organically and geographically.

Corn Products has said that the combined company will have revenues of $5bn, and is expected quickly to bring cost synergies of $50m, mostly from manufacturing, procurement, logistics and admin functions.

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