Tronox to sell alkali business to fund $1.67bn transaction

US chemicals firm Tronox has agreed to buy the titanium dioxide subsidiary Cristal from Saudi firm Tasnee for $1.67 billion (£1.34 billion) and a 24% stake in the new entity. The deal will make Tronox the largest titanium pigment producer in the world, overtaking DuPont spin-off Chemours, with 11 titanium dioxide plants in eight countries and a total capacity of 1.3 million metric tons per year.

Cristal currently employs 3400 people across eight manufacturing plants in seven countries to make titanium dioxide, which is used as a whitening pigment in paints, coatings and plastics. The company also operates mines in Brazil and Australia, a titanium metal powder plant and research and development centre, both in the US.

The deal is expected to close in early 2018, subject to government and regulatory approvals.

To help fund the acquisition, Tronox intends to sell its alkali business. Tronox Alkali mines and processes trona ore and manufactures soda ash for water treatment and to make glass, livestock feed, paper, detergents and chemicals. It has about 1000 employees, 900 of which work in Green River, Wyoming.