LONDON — The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies have reached an agreement in principle for the sale of its global KRATON™ Polymers business to Ripplewood Holdings L.L.C., a private equity investment firm based in New York. This is the last sale in an extensive divestment program announced by Shell in December 1998. It is in line with the strategic drive of Shell’s chemicals companies to focus on those businesses closer to base- and intermediate-chemical building blocks.

The sale of the non-U.S. business and completion of the global deal can only take place after completing formal consultation with staff representatives where needed and the necessary approvals from appropriate regulatory authorities have been obtained.

The Shell Group’s KRATON Polymers business manufactures and markets thermoplastic elastomers that are used in applications such as adhesives and sealants, asphalt/bitumen modification, footwear, and molded and extruded products.

The Group has manufacturing plants in the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Brazil and Japan (via a joint venture with JSR Corp.). In addition, there are global sales and marketing networks, and research and development facilities. The business has annual revenues of approximately $600 million.