Polish market anticipates bid for Ciech from Czech investor

24 May 2012 16:06  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Growing anticipation on the Warsaw stock exchange that a Czech billionaire is set to bid for Poland-based Ciech has pushed up the chemical group’s share price, an investment bank said on Thursday.

Shareholders in Ciech, Europe’s second largest soda ash producer, increasingly see it as likely that Zdenek Bakala, controlling shareholder in FTSE 250-listed Central European coal miner New World Resources (NWR), will commit to a bid, Prague-based bank Wood & Company said.

“Following the positive newsflow on Ciech’s TDI [toluene di-isocyanate] unit divestment [with Ciech saying it has received a concrete offer for lossmaking subsidiary Zachem], investors interested in taking over the company and the appointment of new management, Ciech has rallied 20% from its March lows,” the bank added.

A spokesman for Bakala said he had no comment on whether he was considering a bid.

The focus on a possible bid from the billionaire follows a mid-May denial from China's Wanhua Industrial Group and its Hungarian isocyanates subsidiary BorsodChem that they were interested in acquiring Ciech.

Ciech is controlled through board voting rights held by the Polish treasury ministry, which has a 38.7% stake in the group.

Poland has several times called off privatisations of state-held assets in the chemical sector, including its stake in Ciech, after receiving what it deemed to be unsatisfactory offers.

However, newly installed treasury minister, Mikolaj Budzanowski, has said he wants to see the Polish state exit the chemical sector before the end of 2013.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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