Market talk rises on possible buyer for Dow's Styron

01 February 2010 23:20  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US major Dow Chemical may have lined up a private-equity firm to buy its styrene group, Styron,  producers and traders said on Monday, the day before the company's fourth-quarter earnings announcement.

A producer said it was unlikely that any company would want to buy the assets to restart them, however, given the overcapacity of US styrene and worsening production costs as refiners produce less feedstock benzene.

Among the names market players said were on a short list of possible buyers were Apollo Management, Bain Capital, BlackRock, the Lotte Group, TPG Capital and the Rhone Group.

An earlier report said that the Lotte Group was one of eight bidders.

Apollo, Bain and TPG declined to comment. Lotte and Rhone were not immediately available for comment.

Dow Chemical did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Earlier Dow had said that it expected to close on the Styron sale in the first quarter.

Market participants said Dow may discuss Styron during Tuesday's earnings announcement.

Dow chief executive Andrew Liveris estimated Styron’s value at $1bn-2bn (€720m-1.44bn) in August.

Styron includes Dow’s polycarbonate (PC), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)/styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) resins, polystyrene (PS) and styrene monomer operations, as well as the company’s stake in the Americas Styrenics joint venture with Chevron Phillips Chemical.

($1 = €0.72)

For more on styrene visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Landon Feller
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