Permira (formerly known as Schroder Ventures Europe), GS Capital Partners (the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs) and Schroder Ventures Life Sciences have announced their intention to acquire Cognis. The agreement includes the Cognis leather chemical division headquartered in northern Italy. Permira are also majority shareholders of TFL and hold a stake in Novaria.

Henkel signed an agreement on September 12, with the investor consortium to sell Cognis, including a clause granting the consortium the right to withdraw from the transaction within two months – reflecting market uncertainty following the events in the US. The consortium have decided not to exercise their special right to withdraw and the transaction was expected to close on November 30.

Due to the world economic situation after September 11, the enterprise value on which the transaction is based has been adjusted from €2.6 billion (US$2.3 billion) to €2.5 billion (US$2.2 billion).

Cognis had sales of €3.2 billion (US$2.8 billion) in 2000. The total financing involved in the transaction, including working capital facilities, is €3.0 billion (US$2.7 billion).

Thomas Jetter, partner of Permira, said: ‘Since the agreement with Henkel was signed in September 2001, we have spent a great deal of time working closely with the Cognis team.

‘It is a reflection of Cognis’ great qualities that the funds are proceeding with the deal under the current circumstances.’