23 October 2006 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]
MORE MIDDLE Eastern petrochemical and chemical companies are seeking to become global players by acquiring or investing in overseas assets as they expand their operations, believes a senior industry official.
Sabic's recent acquisition of Huntsman's base chemicals and polymers business in Europe is proof that companies in the region are looking to become global players, Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Hagbani, secretary general of Gulf Petrochemicals and Chem-icals Association (GPCA) said.
"The only two regional contenders at this stage are Sabic, and Iran's National Petrochemical Company (NPC), which has acquired interests in Southeast Asia, Oman, and Latin America."
Kuwaiti companies such asEquate also showed great potential to go global, the former general manager at Sabic Dubai said.
However, it is far too early to expect other countries in the region to pursue such ambitions as they are still in the early stages of development, Hagbani added.
Oman, for example, has some projects, such as a polypropylene (PP) plant, which would start this year, but most would commence only in 2009 or 2010, Hagbani said.
Similarly, he added that Borouge has been slowly expanding operations in the United Arab Emirates.
Mergers and acquisitions are routes that Middle Eastern petrochemical companies are likely to take in the future, but this would largely depend on the opportunities available, Hagbani said.
The GPCA, founded in March by eight Middle Eastern producers, aims to offer networking opportunities and to promote free and fair trade and competition. It will hold its first annual industry gathering on Dec. 16 and 17 in Dubai.
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