Japanese chemical company to buy Charlotte-based Polypore

Polypore Inc., the Charlotte-based maker of battery components, said Monday it will sell itself to Asahi Kasei Corp., a Japanese chemical company.

Asahi Kasei will pay $60.50 per share in cash in a deal that gives Polypore an enterprise value of $3.2 billion. The deal is an effort by the Japanese company to expand its battery business and grow capacity overseas.

Polypore is also selling about $1 billion of the assets and liabilities from its separations media business to 3M Co., and Asahi Kasei will receive the cash proceeds from the sale.

Because Polypore and Asahi Kasei products are so different, it’s unlikely the deal will prompt significant layoffs at Polypore, said Jeff Osborne, an analyst at the Cowen Group. What’s more, Osborne noted, Asahi Kasei said it plans to invest billions in the merged company.

“The global reach of the battery industry would have led them to need to create more factories globally, and now they can leverage Asahi’s reach for that and more importantly, their wallet,” Cowen said.

Polypore is the parent company of battery-maker Celgard, which has plants in Charlotte and Concord. Political leaders have touted Celgard as an example of a successful clean-energy company. Celgard received a $49 million grant from President Barack Obama’s stimulus program, and he made a speech at the company’s Charlotte facility in 2010.

The company also received $18.6 million in state and local incentives to help expansion at its Concord plant. The company opened the 150,000-sqare-foot facility, which it said created 250 new jobs, in July 2011.

Under the deal announced Monday, Celgard will remain under the Asahi Kasei-owned Polypore.

“Clearly, our people have done a tremendous job in building strong businesses that are positioned to address exciting global market trends and needs over the long term, and have the potential to achieve a new level of success by playing a major role in the future growth of two leading global technology companies,” Robert Toth, Polypore’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

According to Bloomberg, Polypore supplies the world’s three largest car makers, along with Tesla Motors and Panasonic.

Shares in Polypore rose more than 12 percent Monday, closing at $59.70.

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