Keppel Nears Deal for Blackstone-Owned Chemical Firm Ixom

(Bloomberg) -- Keppel Infrastructure Trust is nearing an agreement to acquire Ixom, the Australian chemical company controlled by Blackstone Group LP, people with knowledge of the matter said.

A deal may be announced in the coming weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. A sale of Ixom could fetch more than $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said in August.

Acquiring Ixom would help Keppel Infrastructure Trust, led by recently appointed Chief Executive Officer Matthew Pollard, to widen its exposure beyond Singapore. Its portfolio mostly comprises investments based in the city-state, although it also owns Australian electricity and telecom firm Basslink, which it acquired when it merged with CitySpring Infrastructure Trust in 2014.

Negotiations with Blackstone are ongoing, the people said. A representative for Keppel Infrastructure Trust said the firm regularly evaluates potential transactions and will make necessary announcements if there are any material developments. A Sydney-based external representative for Blackstone declined to comment.

Blackstone bought Orica Ltd.’s chemical business for A$750 million ($536 million) in 2015 and renamed it Ixom. Any transaction would add to the $80.2 billion in acquisitions of Australian companies announced this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Ixom’s water treatment and chemical distribution business is centered on Australia and New Zealand, with a growing presence in the Americas and in Asia, its website shows. Keppel Infrastructure Trust’s portfolio includes the sole producer and retailer of piped town gas in Singapore, waste incineration and water desalination plants and a data center.

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