Arkema is broadening its range of high-performance polymers with the acquisition of a controlling stake in PI Advanced Materials (PIAM), a provider of polyimide film based on South Korea. The purchased is expected to be finalized by the end of 2023, subject to the approval of Chinese and Korean anti-trust authorities.

PIAM is a global leader of polyimide film production, with reportedly more than 30% of the global market share. PIAM’s ultra-high-performance polyimide films offer high temperature resistance, dimensional stability, flexibility, and electric insulation. They are increasingly used in markets such as electric vehicles, consumer electronics, semiconductor manufacturing, and other advanced industrial applications. They benefit from the growing need for miniaturization, higher thermal management, and increased safety and durability.

This innovative company has two industrial production sites and two R&D centers in South Korea, employing approximately 320 people. PIAM enjoyed strong sales growth of 12% per year on average in the 2012-2021 period. Sales in 2022 were around €200 million, as they were temporarily impacted by the destocking in the global consumer electronics market. PIAM sales are expected to grow by around 13% per year in the coming years. Growth is expected to be supported by successful customer qualifications in 5G antennas and high-resolution OLED displays, and flexible screens. In the electric vehicle market, growth will be driven by high demand for tapes for battery cell insulation, flexible printed circuit boards for battery management systems, and varnishes for high-voltage motor coils. 

The acquisition by Arkema of Glenwood Private Equity’s 54% controlling stake will allow the full consolidation of PIAM in Arkema’s accounts. The remaining 46% of the shares will continue to be listed on the Korean stock exchange.

“PIAM is an outstanding company with a unique technological positioning, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, and invaluable customer relationships. This acquisition is fully aligned with our strategy to be at the forefront of high-performance materials for high-growth end markets supported by megatrends such as electric vehicles and advanced electronics. After the divestment of PMMA, the acquisition of Ashland adhesives and the current start-up of our bio PA11 plant in Singapore, Arkema is delivering another significant milestone of its strategy focused on innovative materials for a sustainable world,” said Thierry Le Hénaff, Arkema’s chairman and CEO.

Following this transaction, Arkema’s technological profile will be uniquely positioned to benefit from the accelerating demand linked to megatrends. In the coming years, Arkema will give its priority to organic growth, leveraging its technologies in attractive markets and applications. Regarding M&A, Arkema will continue to work on the deconsolidation of its Intermediates segment and will focus its acquisitions program on bolt-on operations, particularly in adhesives.

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