Exclusive: Polymer maker Kraton explores sale of the company -sources

(Reuters) – Kraton Corp, a U.S. manufacturer of polymers used in adhesives, coatings and personal care products, is exploring options that include a potential sale of the company, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Kraton has attracted acquisition interest from peers and private equity firms as it tries to cope with higher raw material costs that have eroded its profitability, the sources said.

Kraton has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co for advice on the deal negotiations, according to the sources. There is no certainty that the deliberations will result in the sale of the company, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Kraton did not respond to a request for comment. A JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment.

Kraton shares jumped on the news and ended trading on Tuesday up 14.9% at $36.37, giving the company a market capitalization of $1.16 billion. The Houston-based company also had net debt as of the end of March of $882 million.

Kraton makes polymers used in the manufacturing of everything from baby diapers and floor varnish to asphalt and fiber optic cables.

Kraton reported first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, deprecation and amortization of $67.7 million in April, down from $77.9 million a year earlier, which it blamed on inflationary pressures weighing on its profit margins.

Kraton Chief Executive Kevin Fogarty said at the time he expected profit margins to recover over the course of the second and third quarters.

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