AECI had agreed to buy Clariant’s water treatment business in Africa for R409 million to expand in the region and tap demand for treating industrial waste water. AECI would pay cash for the business, which generated about $45m (R499.3m) in sales last year, Switzerland-based Clariant said yesterday. AECI said it would use the deal to build on its ImproChem unit, which used the 2012 acquisition of General Electric’s chemical and monitoring solutions business to help build a platform for water-treatment sales in Africa and the Indian Ocean. “This footprint will be enhanced since ImproChem’s direct sales capability in many African countries will enable it to leverage Clariant’s penetration of these markets,” AECI chief executive Mark Dytor said. AECI, South Africa’s biggest explosives and chemicals maker, is shifting from a reliance on the mining industry to focus on higher-margin products including water treatment. The Clariant unit will add both industrial and municipal customers. The deal includes a 50 percent stake in Blendtech, Clariant’s black empowerment partner. AECI shares were unchanged at R129 yesterday. – Bloomberg