China National BlueStar in Talks to Buy Norway’s Elkem

China National BlueStar, a Chinese chemical company backed by the private equity firm Blackstone Group, is in talks to buy part or all of Norway’s Elkem, according to Reuters. Elkem, a unit of Norway’s Orkla ASA, produces solar silicon products. Reuters estimated a potential takeover of Elkem at around $1 billion.

(Reuters)- China National BlueStar, a state-run specialty chemicals company backed by U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group (BX.N), is in talks to acquire part or all of Norwegian solar silicon product maker Elkem AS, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
An Elkem takeover could cost BlueStar around $1 billion based on the Norwegian company’s financial figures and analysts notes.
Elkem, a unit of Norway’s pizza-to-metals group Orkla ASA (ORK.OL), has been in play for several months, as its parent looks to shed non-core assets and focus the overall business.
BlueStar appears to have moved ahead of another suitor, South Korea’s POSCO (005490.KS), whose CEO told Reuters in August that the company was considering a bid for Elkem.[ID:nTOE69L08C]
On Sunday, POSCO downplayed the interest, saying the steelmaker is not seriously considering buying Elkem.[ID:nTOE69L08C]
It is unclear whether BlueStar is interested in all of Elkem or just certain parts. The sources had direct knowledge of the deal but were unable to be named because the talks are private.
BlueStar, Olka and Elkem were not immediately available for comment. Blackstone declined to comment.
By Leonora Walet and Michael Flaherty