German chemicals company Henkel have sold their speciality chemicals unit Cognis to Schroder Ventures and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for Euro2.6 billion (US$2.4 billion).

The deal is reported to be one of the largest leveraged buyouts in the chemicals industry and also includes a clause to take into account market uncertainties following September’s terrorist attacks in the US under which the buyers can withdraw within the next two months.

Cognis reported a 4% increase in sales to E1.5 billion (US$1.4 billion) in the first half of 2001, while operating profit climbed 3.6% to E116 million (US$106 million). The sale will allow Henkel to concentrate on their consumer brands and is expected to be completed by the end of November.