02 April 2001 16:44 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Basell, the polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) joint venture formed last year through the union of BASF and Shell's polyolefins activities, has been given more time by the European Commission (EC) to dispose of PP production in line with the Commission's conditional approval of the merger.
It is understood from sources close to the EC that Basell has sought and received an extension to the 31 March deadline by which it was required by the Commission to divest PP resins plants with a combined capacity of at least 600 000 tonne/year. BASF and Shell also agreed to sell 130 000 tonne/year of PP compounds capacity and the Novolen PP technology business of BASF subsidiary Targor.
US groups ABB and Equistar bought the Novolen technology last year and last week Basell announced the sale of its 195 000 tonne/year capacity PP plant at Cologne, Germany to US chemicals giant Dow.
But Basell has been struggling to strike acceptable deals for the remaining PP capacity and is believed to have persuaded the EC to give it more time.
The EC does not disclose publicly the deadline in such cases as it would put the selling company at a distinct commercial disadvantage. Neither the EC nor Basell would comment today on the extension.
A spokesman for Basell, which is the world's leading PP producer, would only say that negotiations were continuing with potential buyers and that the EC was being kept fully informed of the situation.
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