Arch Chemicals Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire fellow chemical manufacturer Advantis Technologies Inc.

“This is something we’ve been eyeing for a while,” said Mark Faford, director of investor relations and corporate communications at Arch Chemicals, based in Norwalk, Conn. “[Advantis] is a great strategic acquisition for us.”

Though the purchase price (more than 10 times Advantis’ 2007 EBITDA) raised some eyebrows, Arch expects to generate another $6 million per year from integrating the two companies.

“We saw some pretax synergies with this [deal],” Faford said. “What we’re looking at is primarily in the supply chain area: purchases of raw materials, freight and distribution of product.”

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of October, assuming it passes regulatory scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission. Advantis currently is owned by Rockwood Holdings Inc. of Princeton, N.J.

In the meantime, Arch will begin meeting with Advantis’ staff to implement an integration plan through addressing distribution, mass-merchant and dealer-direct programs.

“It’ll be tested over the next couple of weeks as we start talking to employees and making sure we’re spot-on,” Faford added. “[We have] a well-thought-out and detailed integration plan. That’s what we’ve been very successful with in previous acquisitions.”

The Advantis deal is not Arch’s first large acquisition in the specialty chemicals market. Arch purchased Avecia’s biocides business for $210 million in 2004, which included biguanide-based sanitizer brands Baquacil and BaquaSpa.

And even in an industry downturn, the company is expecting continued growth.

“We’re not so much hurt from the cyclical nature of the economy,” Faford explained. “People stay at home and tend to use their pools more during tougher times, and that’s a favorable trend.”

Arch has nearly 3,000 employees internationally and generates approximately $1.5 billion in annual sales.

Under its Pool & Spa Division, Advantis manufactures private-label and branded specialty chemicals. Its Surface Water Division makes nonresidential products for controlling aquatic vegetation.

The Alpharetta, Ga.-based firm declined to comment for this article.