22 September 2003 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Frans Noteborn, chief executive officer of Sabic EuroPetrochemicals (Sabic EPC) speaking at a press briefing at the company's site in Geleen, the Netherlands, told ECN he expected 'a sustainable market recovery in both olefins and polyolefins [in Europe] before the end of 2003, with a more marked recovery in 2004'.
Commenting on recent market upheavals Noteborn admitted that 'to an extent, if you are exposed to volatility because of crude oil and through naphtha pricing, you have to live with it'. Sabic EPC does not engage in naphtha hedging, despite having to purchase quantities of naphtha to feed its Geleen crackers.
Noteborn also talked of maximising Sabic's global assets, stating there is a need to build a larger logistical base in Europe, in the form of tank farms for liquid products and warehousing for bulk materials.
This would allow for the transportation of more material from the Middle East. 'We have the ambition to grow at twice the rate of the market,' said Noteborn.
Since Sabic's purchase of DSM Petrochemicals in 2002, market players have expressed concern that the acquisition would give Sabic a larger portal into the European market for its competitively priced material manufactured in the Middle East.
Sabic is in the process of standardising its European and Middle Eastern brand names, which should lead to a uniform brand system throughout Sabic.
Sebastian Kostering, Sabic EPC's director of marketing for olefins and styrene, also addressed the press briefing stating that he expected the next demand cycle to peak in 2005, when European ethylene demand growth will reach 3%, against its GDP growth of 2.5%.
Kostering also talked of Sabic maximising its assets stating: 'I have tried to convince Sabic not to ship ethylene, as it is the most expensive hobby you can have and only makes someone else rich.' He believes the parent company should concentrate on the export of ethylene derivatives.
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