Chemlogics, a privately held North County-based company that manufactures specialty chemicals used in the extraction and production of oil and gas, has been sold to Solvay of Brussels, Belgium, for $1.3 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close by year end.
The transaction will allow both Chemlogics and Solvay’s oil and gas group to expand internationally in new markets that “neither of us could do by ourselves,’’ said Chemlogics founder William Frost, who lives in San Luis Obispo County.
“It’s very much a hand-in-glove fit where their capabilities didn’t mirror what we did but (will) add to it,’’ he said.
Frost, president of Chemlogics, said he will remain as an adviser to Solvay’s oil and gas division president for six to nine months to ensure that the “continuity of our vision is executed” and to help with the transition. He will then focus on longer-term projects and strategic planning.
Never miss a local story.
Chemlogics employs 17 people at its headquarters, which had long been in Paso Robles but is temporarily in Atascadero, and about 260 at eight factories, eight formulation sites and six research hubs nationwide. There should be no loss of employees, Frost said, adding that the company is instead expanding and hiring.
Together the combined oil and gas division has about $1 billion in annual sales — with each providing about $500 million, Frost said.
According to Solvay, Chemlogics’ friction reducers for drill heads and cementing materials complement Solvay’s range of surfactants and natural polymers. Chemlogics has increased its core profit by a double-digit percentage per year over the past five years, according to Reuters news service.
Solvay has about 30,000 employees and annual sales of about $17 billion.
Frost, a Cal Poly graduate, founded Chemron Corp. in 1977 with Eugene Miller. They opened a Paso Robles manufacturing facility in 1981 that specialized in chemicals for personal-care products, including soaps, detergents and shampoos.
In 2002, Chemron — with approximately 100 employees — sold its personal care products group to chemical maker Lubrizol Corp. for about $60 million, Frost said previously. Miller retired.
At the time, Chemron also had an oil field/energy services group with one plant in Long Beach, Frost said Monday. He retained that group with about 40 employees “because we felt we could see the opportunities developing in the energy sector,’’ Frost said, and renamed it Chemlogics.
In 2010, Chemlogics brought in JPMorgan’s private investment arm, One Equity Partners, as a minority partner to help develop its business further, Frost said. It owns 37 percent, according to Tribune wire services.
Even though some have called him and his business ventures lucky, Frost said, “Success is the intersection between opportunity and preparedness. So if you’re prepared and the opportunity is there, that’s when you have success.’’
He attributed Chemlogics’ success over the years largely to the efforts of employees and key partners.