KINGSPORT, TN — Eastman Chemical Co. and Lawter International Inc. announced an agreement under which Eastman will acquire Lawter for approximately $500 million in cash and debt. Lawter’s board of directors has approved the merger agreement and recommended that stockholders tender their shares.
Lawter, based in Pleasant Prairie, WI, is a manufacturer of specialty products for the ink and coatings markets. The company, with approximately 600 employees, reported sales of $213 million (U.S.) in 1998.
Eastman Chairman and CEO Earnest W. Deavenport Jr. said the acquisition reflects the company’s strategy of expanding its specialty-chemicals portfolio, viewed as offering higher profitability and less-cyclical demand. Eastman is a major global producer of plastics, chemicals and fibers.