Poland's Ciech aiming to sell all non-soda ash businesses

23 May 2013 16:23  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Poland's Ciech group is to pursue the divestment of all its businesses apart from its soda ash division, the company said on Thursday.

If satisfactory offers were received for all the remaining non-soda ash units, Ciech would plan to concentrate on developing its core business, namely soda ash production, said company spokesman Mariusz Babula.

In January this year, state-controlled Ciech – which the Polish treasury ministry has said is for sale itself should the right investor come along – ended its production of toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) after selling assets of its Zachem subsidiary to rival TDI producer BASF. Zachem's epichlorohydrin (ECH) was shut down shortly after.

In February, the group, reached a preliminary agreement to sell nitrogen phosphorus potassium (NPK) fertilizer subsidiary Zaklady Chemiczne Alwernia to the international Kermas Group.

Ciech is still considering a bid lodged by fellow Polish state-controlled chemical producer, Zaklady Azotowe Pulawy (ZAP) – a member of Poland's newly-consolidated largest chemical group Grupa Azoty – for its Zaklady Chemiczne Organika-Sarzyna subsidiary, a maker of plant protection chemicals and epoxy and polyester resins.

The company has said that it also stands ready to sell or liquidate its Romanian and German soda ash operations,  Uzinele Sodice Govora Ciech and Sodawerk Stassfurt Deutschland Ciech, if restructuring efforts do not sufficiently improve profitability.

The new management, which took over at Ciech last year after the treasury ministry urged the company to make more substantial progress in paying down its debts, has also put glass and silicates subsidiary, Vitrosilicon and polyurethane (PU) foams unit Pianki in the shop window, while various real estate assets it owns in Poland are also available for sale.

Ciech's strategy for its soda ash business includes a possible expansion of its Poland-based production to 1.4m tonnes/year from 1.2m tonnes/year.

“The implementation of these plans depends on whether it will be possible to integrate some of the plants into the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone [in northern Poland],” said spokesman Babula.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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