$3.2bn purchase from Albemarle continues BASF’s efforts to expand and refocus its coatings division

German chemicals giant BASF has agreed to buy Albemarle’s Chemetall surface treatments business for $3.2 billion (£2.2 billion).

Chemetall’s products and know-how are complementary to BASF’s existing coatings business, and fit with the company’s intention to focus more on automotive applications. In February, BASF agreed to sell its industrial coatings business to AkzoNobel, and since then has invested in expanding its car coatings production capacity in Asia, by acquiring and building new plants in China and Thailand.

Albemarle acquired Chemetall in 2015, when it bought Rockwood Holdings. The sale will help Albemarle reduce the debt it took on to finance that deal.