InterviewVIDEO: Solvay surfactants JV a good strategic fit - Sibur CEO

10 October 2012 10:16  [Source: ICIS news]

A Sibur facility - Sibur press photoLONDON (ICIS)--Ruspav, the newly created surfactants joint venture between Belgian chemicals group Solvay and Sibur, fits well with the Russian company's growth strategy, its CEO said on Wednesday.

The joint venture, announced on Tuesday, aims to take advantage of fast-growing Russian markets serving personal care and oilfield process chemicals through the construction of a world scale surfactants plant in Dzerzhinsk, 400km (248 miles) east of Moscow, by 2015.  

Sibur CEO Dmitry Konov said on Wednesday that the surfactants business would fit well into its plastics and organic synthesis business, that is driven by research and development (R&D) and customers’ demand.

“This division is more R&D driven and responds to consumer market trends. With this business we have the choice to either develop the portfolio by ourselves or with a business partner. Solvay is a going to provide a lot of the R&D and marketing side of this business.”

He said Sibur does not have ambitions to enter the surfactants market as a separate player and is likely to bring its feedstock sources and market expertise to the joint venture to combine with Solvay’s technologies and customer base.

Konov said the plant would be targeted at Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and could later become  “world scale” dependent on distribution agreements between the parties. He declined to give any further details about the investment costs, capacity or timetable.

But he revealed that Sibur would provide its market experience, as well as feedstock for the plant under a long-term contract for the supply of ethylene oxide (EO).

Emmanuel Butstraen, president of Solvay’s Novecare unit, said: “After the signing we can go officially to discuss the project with our key global accounts. How they wish to participate in the project will define the design of the plant and the amount of investment. We want to create a leader in the Russian surfactant industry.”

Meanwhile, asked for an update on Sibur’s plans for an initial public offering (IPO), Konov said: “It is up to the shareholders to make a final decision. The company structure is ready for an IPO. Our main shareholder, Leonid Mikhelson, has a strong belief in the public markets. I will be happy to see an IPO next year but it is up to the shareholders.”

Through a separate holding company, Russian entrepreneur Leonid Mikhelson owns a 57.5% stake in Sibur while energy trader Gennady Timchenko, co-owner of Gunvor trading house, owns 37.5%.

By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214

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