07 July 2003 00:00 [Source: ICB]OMV, Austria's leading oil and chemicals firm, has raised $540m to help refinance acquisitions made earlier this year.
The cash was raised in two lumps - a $320m private placement of ten-year and 12-year notes in the US, and a E250m issue of seven-year corporate bonds in Austria.
OMV said the funds cover about two-thirds of the cost of two recent acquisitions - one in exploration and production, the other in refining and marketing.
The refinancing both increases the firm's debt maturity profile and diversifies its creditor base beyond the European banking market, said the company. In particular, the US bond issue provides a 'natural hedge' against exposure to the volatile dollar exchange rate, it said.
OMV's chief financial officer David Davies said the long time until maturity of both issues 'provides an efficient method of supporting OMV's long-term growth plans, as we pursue our stated aim of doubling our production and sales volume by 2008.'
However, the company's thirst for cash is not yet satisfied. Last week it announced plans to invest E200m on expanding capacity at its Schwechat ethylene/propylene plant near Vienna. Ethylene capacity will rise by nearly 50% to 500 000 tonne/year and propylene capacity will increase 33% to 400 000 tonne/year, with both coming onstream in autumn 2005.
OMV is interested in bidding for control of the east European refining and petrochemicals group Unipetrol. The Czech state is expected to offer a 63% stake in Unipetrol, worth at least $300m, by the middle of 2004.
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