LyondellBasell studies ways to spend $3.8bn in cash - CEO

16 August 2010 21:52  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell is considering ways to spend some of its $3.8bn (€3.0bn) in cash - an amount it did not expect to have this soon after emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company's chief executive said on Monday.

"We didn't predict that we'd have this much cash at this time," said Jim Gallogly, the firm's chief executive officer, on prior estimates of how much money the company would have when it emerged from bankruptcy.

A stock issue will be announced soon, Gallogly said in a conference call. He added that he and other officials are discussing using the cash to reduce LyondellBasell's debt further, but have not made any decisions yet.

"We're having discussions with our board on what to do with this very nice issue," Gallogly said.

Strong automotive sales in the US and globally helped boost earnings in the second quarter as did an excellent performance from the olefins and polyolefin segments in the period, Gallogly said.

He highlighted the company's focus on using lighter ethane feedstocks in the US. "It's nice to have the light feedstock advantage that we're enjoying," Gallogly said.

But the second half of the year most likely will not measure up to the first half, Gallogly said.

"We do expect some softening at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter," Gallogly said. "We expect softening as the year progresses."

Gallogly said ethylene margins should contract in the later quarters, due to some economic wild cards that remain to be played.

"The hurricane season is always a wild card," Gallogly said. "The economy is a wild card. We'll just have to see how it develops."

($1 = €0.78)

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By: Lane Kelley
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