By Malini Hariharan

Honam Petrochemical’s plan to acquire Malaysia’s Titan Chemical could well be the start of the South Korean major’s foray overseas.

“Honam will keep looking for other M&A opportunities in the chemicals space,” said a source close to the company.

Their interest is not only in basic chemicals but also intermediates and speciality chemicals. Target segments include olefins, polyolefins, ethylene oxide (EO) derivatives and environmentally friendly chemicals.

The priority will be to pursue opportunities in Asia.

Honam has also not given up hopes of establishing a presence in the Middle East. Its planned cracker and derivatives joint venture in Qatar is still in cold storage but the company wants to expand in the region, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, by establishing other joint ventures.

Honam’s overseas ambitions are evident in its list of projects. Besides expanding a cracker in South Korea it has taken a stake in a joint-venture 400,000 tonnes/year cracker and derivatives project in Uzbekistan that is due to be completed in 2013. And it is participating in an ethylene oxide (EO) and ethanolamines project in China for completion in 2012.

Honam is also interested in integrating its South Korean petrochemical operations with a refinery.

“But I think there no opportunities right now to enter the refining market in South Korea,” the source added.

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