W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE:GRA) announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire the assets of Noblestar Catalysts Co., Ltd. Noblestar is a manufacturer of fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts, catalyst intermediates and related products used in the petroleum refining industry and is located in Qingdao, China. The terms of the investment were not disclosed. In order to complete the purchase, Grace established a new Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) in the People’s Republic of China.
The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, but is subject to the satisfaction of other closing conditions. Grace anticipates completing the transaction as soon as regulatory clearances have been obtained.
In March, Grace announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to form a joint venture with Al Dahra Agricultural Company to build and operate an FCC catalysts and additives plant in the Middle East. The production plant will be used to supply oil refiners in the high growth Middle East and South Asia markets and is expected to come onstream in 2015.
Grace is the worldwide leader in FCC catalysts. Last year, the business successfully introduced several low and no rare earth products to assist petroleum refiners lower their operational costs.
Grace first established a presence in China when it founded Grace China Ltd. in 1986 as the first WFOE. Currently, Grace operates 5 manufacturing facilities, 3 sales offices and 2 technical service centers in mainland China, including its Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Shanghai.