Jindal in talks to buy DuPont Teijin European operations

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New Delhi — India's Jindal Poly Films Ltd. is in advanced stages of discussions to buy the European operations of DuPont Teijin Films for $300 million, according to a report in India's Economic Times newspaper.

New Delhi-based Jindal did not respond to calls for comment. But in a May 31 filing to the Mumbai Stock Exchange, it said that "at this stage no definitive agreement [has been] signed with anyone."

Analysts said DuPont's decision, if true, would continue its long shift away from a market it once dominated.

"DuPont was once the largest world producer and undisputed leader in terms of R&D in the global [biaxially oriented PET] BOPET film industry, but the company's profits have suffered in recent years from intense competition from new, low-cost, producers based in India and China," said Simon King, chief films analyst for consulting firm PCI Wood Mackenzie.

"The sale of these European operations is just another step in the long and painful process of DuPont's withdrawal from a market they once dominated," King noted in a statement.

Jindal has previously said it would "evaluate consolidation and geographical expansion opportunities." That includes strengthening its position in the United States and Europe.

For example, it said in February that it was spending $120 million to build a plant in LaGrange, Ga., to expand into polyester films.

The investment, by Jindal Films Americas LLC, is expected to have an annual capacity of 71,500 tons and begin production in early 2019, the company said.

"The plant would be composed of two lines, enabling Jindal Films to provide a product offering both thin specialty and thick specialty films," the company said in a statement. The company already makes biaxially oriented polypropylene films in LaGrange.

Jindal Films Americas also has a facility in Shawnee, Okla. The company ranked 17th inPlastics News' most recent survey of North American film and sheet manufacturers, with estimated sales of $520 million

Global growth

Globally, Jindal says fast-moving consumer goods markets are growing 4 to 5 percent annually, with the U.S. expected to grow around 4 percent and Europe about 2.4 percent. The BOPET film market was expected to grow 8 percent between 2013 and 2018.

The proposed acquisition would further expand Jindal's footprint globally in BOPET, a market largely controlled by Chinese multinational Kangde Xin, ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell and Reliance Industries.

DuPont Teijin is a 50/50 joint venture formed in 2000 between DuPont and Japan's Teijin. DuPont Teijin's business spreads over Europe, Indonesia and Japan. Its European subsidiary has facilities in Foshan and Ningbo in China, Scotland and Luxemburg in Europe and Virginia in the United States, and an innovation hub in Teesside, England.

Jindal has been active in expanding in Europe, buying the French company Rexor SAS in 2003. It also bought ExxonMobil's BOPP business in 2012, acquiring five factories in the United States and Europe. That business employed around 1,500.

Jindal says it is India's largest producer of PET and BOPP films, and the eighth-largest maker of BOPET films worldwide. It has seven BOPP film lines, with annual capacity of 466,000 metric tons and a 5 percent share of the global market. According to the company, its facility in Nasik, India, is the world's largest single site for BOPP and BOPET films.

Jindal is part of the Indian conglomerate BC Jindal Group, which also has businesses in photographic products, thermal power generation and steel.

Staff reporter Jim Johnson contributed to this story.

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