LyondellBasell’s bankruptcy option surprises Asian JVs

05 January 2009 08:54  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--LyondellBasell’s polypropylene (PP) joint ventures in Asia have been caught off guard by the company’s announcement last week that it was considering to file for bankruptcy protection as an option after failing to repay a loan on time, sources at the joint ventures said on Monday.

Officials from the joint ventures, namely Polymirae in South Korea and HMC Polymers in Thailand, said they were aware of LyondellBasell’s predicament, but that they didn’t know what was going to happen.

"There's no updated information at this point of time," said a spokesman of HMC Polymers, a PP joint venture between LyondellBasell, Thai petrochemical major PTT Plc and Bangkok Bank.

Polymirae, a 50-50 joint venture between Daelim Industrial and LyondellBasell, said LyondellBasell’s announcement has had no impact on the joint venture operations so far.

"Nothing has happened yet. We don’t know what actions LyondellBasell is going to take and we’ve not received any communications package from it in its capacity as a shareholder," a senior official of Polymirae said.

LyondellBasell’s employees in Asia were equally surprised by its employer’s predicament.

"Most of us were on leave when the news broke. We were surprised," a LyondellBasell source said.

A lot of rumours were flying around now about what was going to happen but there were no major changes so far and business was as usual, the LyondellBasell source said.

"We’ll probably hear more news from our corporate side in a couple of days," he said.

The LyondellBasell source also said he believed some of the potential creditors had held back their loans probably because they didn’t see enough organisational restructuring in LyondellBasell, an entity created from the Basell’s acquisition of Lyondell.

The merger of Lyondell and Basell was supposed to reap synergies and savings but the integration had been going too slowly for much of such benefits to happen, he said.

"I think they want to see changes in terms of organisation and the way business is run," he said.

LyondellBasell is described as the world's largest independent producer of polypropylene and advanced polyolefins products, a leading supplier of polyethylene, and a global leader in the development and licensing of polypropylene and polyethylene processes and related catalyst sales.

For more on PP visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Chow Bee Lin
+65 6780 4359

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