Thermo Fisher Scientific Plans to Acquire Haverhill Chemical Firm

Alfa Aesar’s building in the Ward Hill Business Park.

Thermo Fisher Scientific of Waltham plans to acquire Alfa Aesar Research Chemicals, including the latter’s U.S. hub, based in Haverhill.

Alfa Aesar employs nearly 500 between its Haverhill and Stoughton, Mass., operations and one in Sparks, Nev. Heysham, U.K.-based Johnson Matthey said it has agreed to sell the division for about $400 million. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

“The acquisition of Alfa Aesar enhances our existing portfolio of chemicals, solvents and reagents to support virtually every laboratory application—from research, to drug discovery and development, to production,” said Marc N. Casper, president and chief executive officer of Thermo Fisher. “In addition, customers will benefit from greater access to these products through our extensive global commercial reach.”

Robert MacLeod, chief executive of Johnson Matthey said in a statement, “The divestment of the research chemicals business is a further step in delivering our long term strategy to focus the group on growth areas where we can apply our expertise in complex chemistry to create long term value for our shareholders”.

Alfa Aesar, 26 Parkridge Road, in the Ward Hill Business Park, is currently part of Johnson Matthey’s Fine Chemicals Division. It is unknown exactly how many of the company’s employees work exclusively in Haverhill or how many might be affected by the sale, said Thermo Fisher spokesman Ron O’Brien.

Thermo Fisher has revenues of $17 billion and employs approximately 50,000 people in 50 countries. In its second quarter financial report, Thermo Fisher executives said the acquisition will “enhance offering of laboratory chemicals, solvents and reagents for research applications.” Alfa Aesar supplies more than 45,000 specialty chemicals to industry and academic institutions.