Sabic closes in on European berth

18 January 2002

Italy's Eniis close to reaching agreement with Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)for the sale of a majority stake in its petrochemical arm, Polimeri Europa. The acquisition will be Sabic's first outside the Gulf. 'We are negotiating the sale of a 51 per cent stake in the first phase and expect to complete the deal by May at the latest,' said Stefano Cao, chief executive officer of Agip, Eni's upstream division, at a press briefing in London on 15 January.

Eni gained control of Polimeri from the US' Dow Chemicals, which sold its 50 per cent stake in the company to Eni's petrochemical division, EniChem, last year. EniChem's main olefins, aromatics, styrenics and elastomers businesses were integrated on 1 January into Polimeri's portfolio, creating one of Europe's biggest olefins and polyethylene producers.

Polimeri had turnover in 2000 of Eur 1,800 million ($1,600 million) and profits of Eur 54 million ($89 million). It has seven production plants across Europe, with an overall polyethylene capacity of 1.6 million tonnes a year (t/y). EniChem's total production in 2000 was just over 8.5 million tonnes, including olefins, polyethylene, styrene and elastomers. It had sales valued at $5,526 million.

Sabic is the largest industrial manufacturer in the Middle East, with a total production capacity of 35 million t/y. Last year the company achieved record sales, with revenues rising by 28 per cent to SR 24,600 million ($6,560 million). Its target is to increase production to 48 million t/y by 2010 (MEED 16:2:01).

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