A 43.7% move in specialty chemicals outfit Alent (ALNT) is being prompted by an agreed 503p per share bid for the £1.3 billion cap by US-based chemicals industry consolidator Platform Specialty Products (PAH:NYSE).

Spun off from Cookson Group along with Vesuvius (VSVS) in 2012, Alent's stint as an independent operator looks decidedly shortlived.

As highlighted by Shares as recently as 07 May this year, 'demerged businesses are often...provide a headache for fund managers who can only own large cap stocks, for example, and this often leads to them being sold, regardless of the price.'

The presence on Alent's ownership register of activist investors like Cevian is also unlikely to have hindered moves back into the conglomerate fold.

Around this time last year (17 July), we highlighted to readers that 'low debt, a growing dividend and the serendipity of an anticipated cyclical upturn in its end markets' were among of the attractions that Alent's investment case compelling. This is clearly a conclusion also reached by PAH.


The group's first quarter update on 29 April showed Alent in a strong financial position with net debt at the end of March 2015 standing at £130.8 million.

Operationally, trading continued in line with expectations. Broker Liberum pointed out at the time that analyst consensus expectations for the year...stood at £437 million NSV (net sales value) and £100.5m adjusted operating profit, up 5.5% and 6% y-o-y. On these numbers, the 2015 PE stands at a compelling c20% discount to the UK Chemicals sector average.'

Another interesting item (at least in light of Alent's acquistion) did however make the first quarter update. A £6.4 million charge in relation to the settlement of pre-demerger litigation between Cookson Group and MacDermid was noted and now MacDermid – a wholly owned subsidiary of Platform Specialty Products – one of its main competitors in its US markets.

Issue Date: 13 Jul 2015