The pace of mergers and acquisitions in the $3.1 trillion chemical industry slumped to the slowest since 2009 in the third quarter, quashing earlier predictions that the year may be a record.

The value of global chemical transactions announced in the three months through September fell 64 percent to $6.46 billion from the second quarter and slumped from $48.5 billion in the year-earlier period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That's the lowest volume since the fourth quarter of 2009, the data show. The average transaction size fell 59 percent to $89 million from the preceding period.

Europe's debt woes have led to a pause in multi-billion- dollar deals. BASF SE, which announced a $5 billion bid for Ciba the day Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 and paid $3.8 billion for Cognis last year, is focusing on debt reduction. The quarterly drop may be a blip as CEOs have more robust balance sheets and are still keen to do deals, said Ariel Levin, a partner at Valence Group. Asian companies are among those hunting for assets in the west, he said.

"The private equity and mega deals are going to be put out for a little bit," said Levin. "CEOs feel much more confident that then they did during the 2008 crisis period."

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