BRUSSELS (AP) -- German chemicals giant BASF SE is selling off several units to win European Union antitrust approval to buy Swiss rival Ciba Holding, the European Commission said Thursday.
BASF agreed last September to buy Ciba for 6.1 billion Swiss francs, or $5.35 billion, in cash -- a move that augments the German company's presence worldwide. Ciba's board and shareholders back the deal.
But EU regulators said the takeover could cause competition problems for several special chemical products used to make paper, plastics and skin care products. BASF agreed to sell off some of those businesses in order to win regulatory approval.
It will sell chemical plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany and Ciba units making synthetic dry strength agents for the European paper industry, pigment -- bismuth vanadate -- for the global market and a Finland-based business making glue for the paper industry.
It also agreed to transfer Ciba's "know-how" for making and selling another pigment, indanthrone blue, and will divest a unit making light stabilizers for plastics manufacturers.
It will also strike a licensing deal to allow rivals use the technology behind an ultraviolet filter that Ciba developed for skin care products.
Regulators said the units would survive without their parent companies and BASF's other commitments "would resolve all identified competition concerns."
By taking over Ciba, BASF cements its position as one of the major suppliers to the plastics industry and becomes the second-largest supplier of coating effect materials.
Ciba employs 13,000 people worldwide and posted 2007 sales of euro4 billion. Ludwigshafen-based BASF has 95,000 workers and posted sales of euro57.9 billion in 2007.