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Symex Holdings

Profile of Symex

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Fatty acids (stearic and oleic acids) Symex Holdings at Port Melbourne Acid hydrolysis of animal and vegetable fats. 

Oleine. From tallow, palm oil and olive oil with total production of 15,000 tonnes (2000 representing 9 per cent of world production). Major applications are as additives for polymers (35%), textile auxiliaries (25%), surfactants (20%) and lubricants.

Stearine. Total production is around 22 000 tpa (representing 1.3% of world production). Major applications are in rubber, plastic lubricants, candles and cosmetics).

Glycerol, co-produced with fatty acids, is also imported.

Aside from the use of vegetable oils, Symex uses 60,000-70,000 tonnes annually of tallow representing 95 per cent of fats used.

Symex also produces Distilled fatty acids from coconut oil, canol oil and tallow. 

Glycerol (glycerine) Symex Holdings at Port Melbourne By acid hydrolysis (splitting) of fats (tallow and imported palm oil). Principally producing fatty acid co-product, production is inadequate to supply Australia's needs.

Soap manufacture

Symex Holdings Ltd expanded its operations in December 2002 with a A$21 million purchase of Mayne Group Ltd's Pental soap business.

Pental is Australia's largest manufacturer of bar soap representing 20 per cent of the market with sales in 2003 forecast at around A$30 million, taking Symex's annual revenue to above A$100 million.

Pental markets soaps under its own brands, including Country Life, Natural Selections and Pental. It is also a contract manufacturer for well known consumer brands and businesses.

Symex chairman Alan Stockdale said that under the terms of the acquisition, Symex will acquire the Shepparton, Victoria, manufacturing facility from Mayne, including all contract manufacturing and wholesale operations, the Pental brands and consumer market business. "The acquisition of Pental offers significant growth potential for Symex in terms of raw material purchasing and manufacturing operations," Stockdale said. Symex managing director Mike Newton said the acquisition delivered a number of operational synergies in terms of purchasing, manufacturing and administration that should provide significant benefits to both businesses.  

Mike Newton said Symex was looking at continuing the planned expansion with more acquisitions "on the drawing board".

Historical Background notes

Nuplex Industries Ltd has come over the top of Symex Holdings Ltd and launched a $47 million takeover offer for Asia Pacific Speciality Chemicals Ltd (APS). (May 2002)

The New Zealand chemicals company has offered 70 cents per share cash for APS, a 7.7 per cent or five cent premium over Symex's 65 cents per share offer. Symex, 19.9 per cent stakeholder in APS, launched the bid earlier this month after merger plans between the the two companies were foiled by an unfavourable tax office ruling. Nuplex's offer is subject to a number of conditions, including regulatory approval and achieving at least 90 per cent of all APS shares on issue.

The company is purchasing APS chemicals which manufactures polymer stabilisers, lubricants etc that require fatty acids as produced by Symex. As such there is some synergy between the companies but could be seen as a first step by Symex to adding value to its commodity chemicals (though only a small proportion of its oleochemicals would be used by APS. APS has been underperforming for some years and was the subject of a takeover by a small acrylic chemical producer, Acrylco.

Brothers Frank and Valentino De Fazio, of De Fazio Chemicals, and third shareholder and director designate Sergio Tribuzio, held a 33 per cent stake in Asia Pacific Specialty Chemicals (APSC) have announced a merger with Symex Holdings Ltd.

Their position began with APS when they overturned the board at an extraordinary meeting on June 29, 2001 instigated because of its “poor performance and the board's lack of vision”. APSC chief executive Frank De Fazio said that while generating recent revenues of around $200 million, the company had been unable to deliver profits and returns to shareholders. De Fazio will join the Symex board following the completion of the merger.

Symex chairman Alan Stockdale said "the merger is the first move by the company since listing to invest in complementary businesses whose growth potential will be realised from the injection of Symex's proven management expertise and manufacturing capacity," Under the scheme of arrangement, APSC shareholders would be offered a payment 55 cents per share represented by a fully franked dividend of 25 cents and 30 cents cash, valuing APSC at $37 million.

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