NEW YORK – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR) announced the launch of Rockwood Specialties Inc., a specialty-chemical company comprised of the former pigments, additives, plastics-compounding, water-technology, timber-treatment, and electronics operations of Laporte plc.

In a separate transaction, Degussa-Hüls AG announced an agreement to acquire Laporte’s remaining business —fine chemicals — for $2 billion.

KKR, an investment firm based in New York, and an existing Laporte management group recently completed the acquisition of the Laporte pigments, additives and related businesses. Michael J. Kenny, formerly divisional chairman and a director of Laporte, has been named president of Rockwood Specialties, which is headquartered in Princeton, NJ. The company includes businesses that combined accounted for approximately 55% of Laporte’s 1999 consolidated sales of $836 million.

In acquiring Laporte’s remaining businesses, Degussa-Hüls will become one of the world’s biggest producers of fine chemicals, which are used in pharmaceuticals.