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Brenntag acquires East African chemical distributor Desbro Group
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Karsten Beckmann, photo courtesy of Brenntag.

Germany’s Brenntag, a global market leader in chemical distribution, has entered into an agreement to acquire the Desbro Group in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and the UAE. Desbro Group, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, is one of the largest and long-standing distributors in East Africa. Desbro Group represents more than 50 world-class manufacturers of chemicals and offers a broad portfolio of commodities and specialty chemicals to diverse strategic customer industries in East Africa and the Middle East, including oil and gas, plastics, coatings & construction, textile, water treatment, and life sciences.

“With Desbro we are acquiring a leading and well-respected market player. The company provides us the needed market expertise, organization and infrastructure to build on our strategy to claim outstanding Africa coverage. Combined with Brenntag’s know-how and existing product and supplier portfolio we will create an overall presence and offering in both Africa and the Middle East,” said Karsten Beckmann, member of the Board of Management of Brenntag Group and CEO of Brenntag Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

“East Africa is a sizeable market for chemical distribution to which Brenntag now gains access via this acquisition. We will now be in a position to extend the cooperation with our existing suppliers and attract additional suppliers in the region to support them in growing their customer base. In particular, we see a high potential to accelerate the growth of our Material Science business and to improve the market share in Life Sciences,” said Anthony Gerace, Brenntag Group’s managing director of Mergers & Acquisitions.

The acquired business generated sales of EUR 70 million (USD 81.4 million) in the 2017 financial year. Established in 1954, Desbro Group is privately owned and managed by Suman Sennik and his family. It is one of the largest and oldest distributors of chemicals and industrial raw materials in East Africa.

Headquartered in Essen, Germany, Brenntag operates a global network with more than 530 locations in 74 countries and a global workforce of more than 16,000 employees. In 2017, Brenntag generated sales of EUR 11.7 billion (USD 13.6 billion).

The closing of the transaction is subject to certain contractual closing conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2019.

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