06 October 2000 20:50 [Source: ICIS news]
SAO PAULO (CNI)--Shareholders of Petroquímica do Nordeste (Copene), Brazil's largest producer of basic petrochemicals, have reached an agreement to jointly sell a majority stake in the company, CNI learned Friday.
The agreement comes after nearly a year of negotiations and was announced by the central bank, which holds a 23.7 per cent stake in Norquisa, the holding company that controls Copene.
Under the agreement, the principal shareholders - Odebrecht, Mariani, Suzano and the central bank - are to sell their majority stake in Norquisa. In addition, Suzano and the central bank are to sell their joint majority stake in Politeno, one of Copene's principal customers, as part of the same share package.
Market sources say Dow Chemical, BASF, and Brazil's Ultra group are among the interested bidders, though BASF has denied any intentions to bid for the company.
The tender, which is likely to be held on the local stock exchange before the end of the year, is subject to approval by the head of the central bank.
The sale of a controlling stake to a single group is to streamline decision-making in Copene, which currently has 10 major shareholders.
Copene is located in Brazil's northeastern Bahia state and accounts for 45% of the raw materials used by the country's petrochemical industry. The company expects sales this year of roughly R$2bn ($1.1bn/Euro1.26bn).
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