Akzonbel sells National Starch business

A food innovation business which was formerly part of UK chemicals giant ICI was sold today in a deal worth 1.3 billion US dollars.

The acquisition of National Starch by Illinois-based Corn Products International includes a technical support centre in Manchester.

National Starch's product portfolio features many of the fat replacers, thickeners and texturisers used in processed foods.

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The business was taken over by Amsterdam-based paints and coatings company AkzoNobel as part of its acquisition of Dulux owner ICI in January 2008.

Akzo announced in April that it had received takeover interest in National Starch, which it no longer viewed as a core part of its business. Tate & Lyle had been seen by some analysts as a possible bidder for the operation.

Today's deal is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2010, subject to certain regulatory approvals.

New Jersey-based National Starch generated revenues of 1.2 billion US dollars (809.2 million) in 2009, including from the sale of speciality starches to customers in the papermaking and industrial markets.

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It has 2,250 employees worldwide and operates 11 plants in eight countries.

The combination with Corn Products will create an ingredients business with nearly five billion US dollars (3.37 billion) in revenues.

Corn Products chief executive Ilene Gordon said: "This acquisition gives us access to new markets such as Europe, and improves our scale and capabilities in many of our existing global locations."

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