Ongoing discussions at specialty chemical company Avecia Group plc should see the sale of its Stahl International bv leather-finishing business concluded by the end of this month.

Private equity company Investcorp Plc is leading the deal to buy Netherlands-based Stahl - the world's leading producer of products to treat or colour leather. Stahl, which operates 14 manufacturing sites and employs 1,500 people in 28 countries, last year recorded sales of £225 million ($328 million) and operating profit of £36 million.

Avecia spokesman Andrew Smalley told that the sale is attractive to Avecia because Stahl is an autonomous and profitable business and will not impact any of the other Avecia businesses if it is sold.

In March, Schroder Ventures acquired Germany's Together For Leather, a joint venture of Ciba Geigy AG and the Degussa-Hüls Group, which produces chemicals for the tanning industry.