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India's Gulf Oil buys U.S. chemicals company for $1 billion

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian lubricants maker Gulf Oil Corp said on Tuesday it has acquired U.S.-based specialty chemicals company Houghton International from a private equity fund for $1.05 billion.

Gulf Oil, part of the diversified Hinduja Group, said Houghton's strong presence in the industrial segment would complement its own range of automotive lubricants, and expected synergies in manufacturing, sourcing and distribution.

Houghton sells metal working fluids across North America and Europe and operates 12 plants globally. It reported an operating profit of $132 million for the 12 months to end-September on sales of $858 million.

Gulf Oil, which sells lubricants and industrial explosives in India and offshore, said it plans to operate Houghton as a separate company.

Indian firms have targeted large overseas assets in recent months.

India's Rain Commodities agreed to buy Belgium-based specialty chemicals group Ruetgers in a $918 million deal last month , while state oil producer ONGC said it is investing $1 billion in a group of oil fields in Azerbaijan. Gulf Oil said it bought Houghton from a U.S.-based private equity fund, but did not give more details.

At 11.00 am (0530 GMT), Gulf Oil shares were trading down 1.8 percent in a firmer Mumbai market <.BSESN>.

(Reporting by Prashant Mehra; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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