12 April 2001 11:03 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--US energy and chemicals giant ExxonMobil is in advanced negotiations to buy the Lillebonne, northwest France polypropylene (PP) resins and compounding facility of polyolefins joint venture Basell, CNI learned Thursday.
The approximately 240 000 tonne/year resins and 130 000 tonne/year compounding capacity facility is being sold as part of Basell's undertakings last year to the European Commission (EC) to divest PP capacity.
Basell's joint owners, Germany's BASF and the Anglo-Dutch Shell group, agreed to sell PP resins plants with a combined capacity of at least 600 000 tonne/year in return for EC approval of the joint venture. The two companies also agreed to divest 130 000 tonne/year of PP compounding capacity.
A spokesman for Basell confirmed today that ExxonMobil was in detailed talks to buy the Lillebonne plant which was formerly owned by Targor, the former PP unit of BASF. He also confirmed that consultations had begun with representatives of the approximately 300-400 workers at Lillebonne.
The deal would follow hard on the heels of the sale to Dow Chemical of Basell's 195 000 tonne/year capacity PP resins plant at Cologne, Germany.
The sale of the Cologne and Lillebonne plants would account for just over 70% of the resins and all of the compounding capacity which the EC requires Basell to divest. Last month the EC gave Basell more time to complete its disposals programme and it is understood the joint venture is in advanced discussions with at least one other potential buyer for a third PP resins plant.
Among the remaining Basell PP plants which could be sold to comply fully with the EC's joint venture approval conditions are the 180 000 tonne/year capacity units at Rozenburg and Pernis in The Netherlands and Wilton in northeast England. Basell had also listed plants in Brindisi, Italy (two units with a combined capacity of 380 000 tonne/year) and Knapsack, Germany (240 000 tonne) as among those it would be willing to sell.
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