UpdateUS Sunoco halts sale plans for phenol business

01 February 2010 17:23  [Source: ICIS news]

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HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Sunoco is no longer pursuing a sale of its phenol and derivatives business, the US refiner said on Monday.

However, “We have a duty to shareholders to consider any reasonable offer, and if someone were to come in and offer a good price, we would certainly consider it,” spokesman Thomas Golembeski said.

“But we’re not on the street actively marketing it anymore,” he added.

Golembeski commented after the company noted that its phenol business was not included in its $350m (€252m) deal with Brazil’s Braskem, despite previous indications that the company was looking to divest its entire chemicals unit.

According to a phenol market source, Braskem was not interested in that business. However, Honeywell and Flint Hills Resources (FHR) had shown interest, a market source said.

Sunoco's phenol business has an annual capacity of about 862,000 tonnes. As of 2009, that made it the top phenol producer in North America and second-largest one globally, Sunoco said.

Sunoco also has a capacity of about 500,000 tonnes/year for phenol co-product acetone, as well as 110,000 tonnes/year of bisphenol A (BPA), for which phenol is used as a feedstock.

The phenol plants are in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Haverhill, Ohio.

As of last year, Sunoco said it was pursuing the sale of its entire chemicals business because of continued underperformance within the segment.

Additional reporting by Heather Doyle

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Ben DuBose
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