01 October 2008 13:43 [Source: ICIS news]
PRAGUE (ICIS news)--Unipetrol currently regards itself as “cash rich” but sees few acquisition options, the chief financial officer of the Czech petrochemicals and refining company said on Wednesday.?xml:namespace>
“We still have a large space for debt financing of a potential acquisition. We are watching the situation on the refinery, petrochemicals and retail market but we do not see many possibilities,” said Wojciech Ostrowski.
Another manager at the company, who wished to remain anonymous, told ICIS news Unipetrol had grown so disappointed at the lack of acquisition possibilities in central and eastern Europe that it was considering following fellow Czech company, synthetic resins producer Spolchemie, in making investments on other continents.
“If something appears [in another region], we will look for all potential investments but obviously we are focusing on our region,” said Ostrowski.
He also commented on the possibility that Unipetrol might adjust its product portfolio in order to cope with the adverse market conditions, especially in the plastics segment.
“We are analysing the situation, especially from the margin point of view," he said. “If it would be better for us to, maybe, decrease the amount of products in the segment to focus on the most profitable grades, we will do this.”
Meanwhile, he declined to comment on whether the company was in talks with Shell Oil to buy its 16.3% stake in Czech refiner Ceska Rafinerska, which is already 51%-owned by Unipetrol.
It has regularly let the market know that it is interested in building up its stake in Ceska Rafinerska.
Under the current ownership deal, even though Unipetrol holds a majority stake in the refiner, it cannot easily source more feedstock for a further petrochemical expansion at subsidiary Unipetrol RPA without acquiring more shares.
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