Time for Reliance to make its next move

By Malini Hariharan

Reliance’s bid to acquire LyondellBasell has taken an interesting turn after yesterday’s court ruling.

The US bankruptcy court has allowed Lyondell Chemical, the US arm of LyondellBasell, time until 15 April to file a reorganisation plan. During that time, no other competing reorganisation plans can be filed with the court.

“… With so much going on, I’m not of a mind to open up exclusivity to anybody other than the debtors,” the judge Robert Gerber is reported to have said at the hearing. He was referring to the complexity and antagonistic nature of the case.

The court also rejected a request by unsecured creditors to expand the scope of an examiner to review how Lyondell was evaluating Reliance’s offer.

Gerber said it would be inappropriate for him to look to an examiner to do his job.

“While I may growl and grimace with the (number) of those issues, I will do my job.”

A source familiar with developments says the ruling was not a setback and that Reliance will have to re-evaluate its strategy.

“The unsecured creditors’ bid [to include the Reliance offer] has been rejected. That route is closed.

“Reliance can still make a binding bid to the LyondellBasell management and then they can take it to court; it can also increase its offer. Reliance will have to evaluate [options],” says the source.

Reliance is clearly keen on pushing ahead.

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