Charlotte-based chemical company to sell business unit for $3.2 billion

Albemarle Corp., the chemical company that announced last summer it’s moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Louisiana, is selling its Chemetall Surface Treatment business for $3.2 billion to BASF Corp., a German chemical company.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, Albemarle said in a statement Friday. It is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

The deal’s price, Albemarle added, could be lower at closing to account for pension obligations and indebtedness of the business, among other reasons.

“The sale of Chemetall reflects Albemarle’s continued commitment to maximizing shareholder value by investing in the future growth of our high priority businesses, reducing leverage and returning capital to shareholders,” said Luke Kissam, Albemarle’s president and CEO.

In April, Kissam sent a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory saying that the company opposes North Carolina’s controversial new House Bill 2, which established statewide categories of protected classes under nondiscrimination laws that exclude sexual orientation and gender identity.

The law, Kissam said, is “inconsistent with our company’s values” and could hurt recruiting efforts. Albamarle has said its move to Charlotte will create 120 jobs here.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta