Trinseo SE has placed a for sale sign on its styrenics businesses, including a major polystyrene resin operation.
In a Nov. 5 news release, officials with Trinseo in Berwyn, Pa., said that the firm "has begun work to explore" selling those businesses and plans to launch a formal sales process in the first quarter of 2022.
The planned sale would include Trinseo's feedstocks and polystyrene reporting segments, as well as its 50 percent ownership of North American PS maker Americas Styrenics LLC.
"The separation of the styrenics businesses would represent another key step in our transformation toward becoming a specialty materials and sustainable solutions provider," CEO Frank Bozich said in the release. "We will continue to prioritize investments in higher growth, higher margin and lower earnings volatility areas…with an ongoing focus on sustainability."
If Trinseo sells polystyrene and feedstocks, its remaining business units would be latex binders, engneered materials (including acrylic sheet and resins) and base plastics (including ABS and polycarbonate).
In 2020, Trinseo's PS unit posted sales of $688.9 million, down 14 percent vs. 2019. Feedstocks sales — including styrene monomer — were down 47 percent to $136.8 million. Both businesses were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but have recovered in 2021. Sales at the PS unit were up 64 percent in the third quarter, with sales in feedstocks up 42 percent.
Americas Styrenics — based in The Woodlands, Texas — is a joint venture between Triseo and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. The firm is one of North America's largest PS makers.
Americas Styrenics doesn't report annual sales, but the firm's adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 2020 was $52 million, down 44 percent vs. 2019. Its third-quarter adjusted EBITDA of $17 million was down 5.5 percent vs. the same quarter in 2020.
Plans for Trinseo's styrenics sale come four months after the firm acquired acrylic sheet maker Aristech Surfaces LLC for $445 million. Trinseo bought Aristech from investment firm Falcon Private Holdings LLC.
The Aristech acquisition was Trinseo's second major acrylic sheet deal in less than a year. In December, the firm bought the acrylic business of Arkema SA for almost $1.4 billion. That Arkema deal included the Plexiglas brand in the Americas.
Trinseo also made a major divestment in May when it sold its synthetic rubber business to Poland's Synthos SA in a deal valued at $491 million. In 2020, Trinseo posted sales of about $3 billion. After the Aristech deal, Trinseo now employs 3,500 at 24 manufacturing sites.
On Wall Street, Trinseo's per-share stock price began 2021 near $54.60 but was around $55.80 in late trading Sept. 8 for an increase of about 2 percent for the year to date.