U.S. Markets closed

Ahead of the Bell: Rockwood Holdings

NEW YORK (AP) -- Chemical maker Rockwood Holdings Inc. says that it has agreed to sell CeramTec, its advanced ceramics business, to European private equity firm Cinven for about $1.98 billion in gross proceeds.

Cinven has obtained financing for the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter 2013 after it receives regulatory approvals.

Rockwood Chairman and CEO Seifi Ghasemi said Sunday that the sale bring Rockwood a step closer toward becoming a more focused specialty chemical company with a growth portfolio that maximizes value and returns for its shareholders.

The net cash proceeds will help Rockwood reduce debt, return capital to shareholders and re-invest in its core businesses, he said.

Rockwood shares finished at $66.56 in trading Friday. They have traded in a 52-week range of $40.52 to $68.96.