WestRock plans May 15 spinoff of Ingevity chemical division

Ingevity formerly operated as MWV Specialty Chemicals.

WestRock Co. has set a date for the spinoff of its North Charleston-based chemicals business.

The packaging giant said it expects the separation of its Ingevity division to take place May 15.

The deal is expected to be a tax-free transaction to investors.

Stockholders will receive one share of Ingevity Corp. for every six shares of WestRock they own after the U.S financial markets close on May 4.

The handoff will create an independent, publicly traded specialty chemicals company.

“We expect Ingevity to have the foundation and focus to sustain and grow its business to generate exceptional long-term returns for its stockholders,” WestRock CEO Steve Voorhees said in a written statement.

Ingevity’s roughly 42 million shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “NGVT.” WestRock will continue to trade on the Big Board as “WRK.”

Ingevity is headquartered on Virginia Avenue and formerly operated as MWV Specialty Chemicals.

The company was started years ago as a subsidiary of MeadWestvaco Corp., which was sold to Rock-Tenn Co. last summer in a deal that created WestRock.

The spinoff was announced more than a year ago.

Ingevity makes compounds used in printing inks, asphalt paving and adhesives. Its customers include the agricultural, paper and petroleum industries. It also makes carbon powders that go into automotive emissions systems and have applications in the air, water and food purification processes.

The division has 1,500 employees and 25 locations worldwide, including plants in Brazil and China.​ Sales totaled $968 million in 2015.

Executives of Richmond, Va.-based WestRock are expected to elaborate about the Ingevity spinoff Friday during a conference call with financial analysts about the company’s latest quarterly results.

Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572.