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Private Equity

Chemicals Dealmakers Talk Up Second Half

Published: March 22nd, 2023
The market was still cruising in the first half of 2022 with record-high multiples and a robust offering of new processes, then it fell off a cliff — bankers and PE partners are hopeful 2023 looks like the mirror image.

To ever call the M&A market “dead” is a misnomer. There’s always a pulse, no matter how slight — old-buddy executives chatting at dinners about when the time will be right to put together a merger, bankers preparing books for when their clients inevitably do decide they can no longer wait it out.

By all accounts, however, the chemicals industry has felt like it’s been on a stretcher, receiving oxygen and CPR since about August.

The current crystal ball predictions are not very satisfying: dealmakers hope for a strong second half (assuming financing markets improve) in stark contrast to 2022’s second half.

In the first half of 2022 some deals still got done at the high water marks of 2021 as processes launched left and right only to fall apart in second half.

The financing market fallout stalled M&A across the board, but for chemicals businesses in particular, the change of pace likely felt quite abrupt.

Intense consumer demand coupled with supply chain bottlenecks led many businesses to see profit margins increase exponentially over night. Suddenly, many more businesses were generating north of $100 million in Ebitda in 2022 compared to low double- or single-digit Ebitda a year to two years earlier — Gaylord Chemical Co. LLC, Epsilyte LLC and Geon Performance Solutions LLC, to name a few.

After August, however, it seemed as though anything much larger than $20 million to $30 million in Ebitda became a nonstarter.

Editor’s note: The original, full version of this article on chemicals M&A was published March 14, 2023, on The Deal’s premium subscription website. For access, log in to or use the form below to request a free trial.

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