The Helsinki-based firm said this week that it would shed the calcium chloride plants in a bid to focus on core business areas: pulp and paper chemicals, water treatment chemicals, industrial chemicals, and paints and coatings.
Calcium chloride is used in food processing to increase the firmness of fruits and vegetables, preventing breakup in processing and cooking. In cheese manufacturing, the additive can increase the size and strength of the curds and in the bottling industry, beverage makers use it to remove sodium alkalinity from water used in soft drink and beer formulation.
In addition the chemical can be used as a refrigerant in ice cream stick product manufacturing, as a meat tenderiser, and a flavour enhancer.
But the largest market segment for the chemical is de-icing, used to melt ice on roads.
One of the top five calcium chloride producers on capacity (over 500,000 short tons) in the US, Tetra Technologies will pay €35 million for Kemira's business that has production plants in Kokkola, Finland, and in Helsingborg, Sweden. Liquid calcium chloride is produced in Delfzijl, Holland, on a 50/50 joint venture basis with Akzo.
The additive is manufactured by hydrochloric acid neutralisation with limestone.