19 January 2007 18:42 [Source: ICIS news]
The plastics segment is a world class business and GE was seeing many companies interested in it, chief executive Jeff Immelt said during a conference call.
Companies in the Middle East or Russia - with a strong feedstock base and plans to grow downstream - could find the plastics business attractive, Immelt added.
He said GE's plastics business has good growth potential once benzene prices come down.
“People who know chemical assets know that there is growth in that business in the future when benzene corrects itself,” he said.
GE officials, in discussing the plastics business' 49% fall in fourth-quarter profits, specifically blamed high benzene costs, which were up 43% year-over-year. “With oil where it is, benzene should be $1/gal lower,” they added.
Analysts at Merrill Lynch said earlier on Friday that with the plastics business’ sharp profit decline, GE may find it hard to sell it for more than $10bn (€770m).
($1 = €0.77)
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