UPDATE 2-Clariant launches rights issue to fund Sued-Chemie

* Issuing up to 23 million new shares

* Offer price expected to be set on April 18

* Clariant says Q1 demand and growth in line with guidance

* Shares fall 0.9 percent

(Recasts, adds shares, analyst comment)

ZURICH, April 7 (Reuters) – Swiss speciality chemicals maker
Clariant (CLN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) has launched a rights issue to help fund its
1.4 billion euros ($2 billion) acquisition of German group
Sued-Chemie (SUCG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research).

Up to 23 million new shares will be offered to existing
shareholders at a ratio of 1 new share for every 10 already
held, Clariant said, with any stock not taken up to be sold in a
public offering and private placement to new investors.

Clariant shares were 0.9 percent lower at 16.90 Swiss francs
at 0940 GMT. Based on this price, the one-for-10 rights issue
would raise 389 million francs ($425 million).

Analysts said the number of shares being issued was slightly
lower than expected, meaning the share dilution would be less
than anticipated.

“The company is issuing up to 23 million new shares versus
our previous estimate of 26 million new shares. The
lower-than-projected number of shares thus offers a small upside
of 1 percent to our earning per share numbers,” Helvea analyst
Martin Flueckiger said.

The subscription period for the fundraising will run from
April 11 to April 15, the company said on Thursday.

A price for the offering is expected to be set on April 18
following a bookbuilding period for the unsubscribed shares.

In February, Clariant said it was issuing new shares in a
1.1 billion Swiss franc capital increase to help it finance the
deal. It will exchange 700 million francs worth of shares with
Sued-Chemie family shareholders. [ID:nLDE71E1UQ]

Clariant also said at the time that the capital hike
included a 400 million franc rights issue, roughly 10 percent of
Clariant’s market capitalisation.

Morgan Stanley is acting as sole global coordinator. Credit
Suisse and Morgan Stanley are acting as joint bookrunners of the
rights issue and international offering, with BNP, Citibank,
Commerzbank, SEB and Unicredit acting as joint lead managers.

Clariant also said on Thursday it had seen steady demand so
far this year.

“Overall, the beginning of 2011 was marked by a stable
demand and growth in local currency terms and an improved
profitability in line with Clariant’s 2011 guidance,” chief
executive Hariolf Kottmann said.
(Reporting by Martin de Sa’Pinto, Katie Reid and Kylie
MacLellan; Editing by Dan Lalor and Hans Peters)
($1= 0.9163 Swiss franc = 0.7006 euro)

UPDATE 2-Clariant launches rights issue to fund Sued-Chemie