Post merger Braskem talks of global growth through acquisitions

By Malini Hariharan

After overcoming legal objections, Braskem took the final step late last week to announce the merger of the petrochemical operations of Petrobras, Odebrecht and Quattor, to create not only Brazil’s largest petrochemical company but also America’s largest polymer producer.

The plan now is to develop the company to become one of the world’s five largest producers, said Bernardo Gradin, Braskem’s ceo at a press meeting. “The future is soon,” he said.

Braskem is in talks with U.S. companies, Gradin said but declined to give more information.

“Since last year, we’ve wanted to acquire a company in the U.S.,” Gradin said. “We’ve had talks, but for now we have nothing to announce. With the financial crisis, a lot of interesting opportunities appeared, but the improvement in the markets has reduced this.”

The company may seek assets from Dow Chemical, Sunoco or Ineos Group Holdings, says this report.

Braskem has also charted out “aggressive growth plans” in Mexico and Venezuela.

Completion of the deal, which effectively nationalises Brazil’s petrochemicals industry, gives Braskem a capacity of 3.04m tonnes/year of polyethylene (PE), 1.97m tonnes/year of polypropylene (PP) and 510,000 tonnes/year of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). With a total capacity of 5.51m tonnes/year, the merged company would he ahead of ExxonMobil (5.31m tonnes/year) and Dow Chemical (4.83m tonnes/year).

The deal is unlikely to face regulatory hurdles despite the new company’s domination of the local market. The Brazilian government reportedly considers the petrochemical market as a global one and the deal gives Braskem only a 3% share of the global market.

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