MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant’s biggest shareholder, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, on Monday re-ignited a battle over the Swiss chemicals maker’s future by seeking a 12-year board member term limit that would force Chairman Hariolf Kottmann’s ouster, said Reuters.
SABIC, which owns 31.5% of Clariant, asked for the new term limit, including for the chairperson, to be added to the agenda of the annual general meeting of shareholders scheduled for April 7. Aramco-controlled SABIC also proposed a special dividend distribution of 2 Swiss francs per share, Clariant said in a statement, which would total roughly 670 million francs (USD753 million).
That could drain the company’s coffers that new CEO Conrad Keijzer might otherwise use to bulk up via acquisitions that he has said are a priority. Kottmann, who became CEO and joined Clariant’s board in 2008, has been at odds with SABIC since a proposed joint venture between the two companies collapsed in 2019 over disagreements over the price of the Saudi Arabian company’s assets.
The sudden departure of Ernesto Ochiello, a longtime SABIC executive who quit as Clariant CEO in July 2019 after less than a year in the job, further signalled differences between Kottmann and his top shareholder.
Ochiello returned to SABIC after leaving Clariant. A Clariant spokesman said the Swiss company and SABIC continued to have a “professional relationship”, and the Saudi company remained an important customer. He said Clariant’s board would discuss SABIC’s proposals at an upcoming meeting.
Clariant, which is selling its pigments unit and cutting 1,000 jobs amid plans to dispose of divisions that make up two-thirds of annual sales, confirmed adoption of the term limits at the shareholders meeting would force Kottmann out, though other board members have several years before they would be affected.
As MRC informed earlier, Sabic intends to raise the prices of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate (PC) in the United States from January 11. The company increases the prices of LEXAN PC by 20 cents per kg (USD198 per ton), PC compound and CYCOLOY ABS by 20 cents per kg (USD198 per ton), CYCOLAC ABS by 20 cents per kg (USD198 per ton), PC GELOY ASA at 20 cents per kg (USD198 per tonne).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PC granules (excluding imports and exports to\\from Belarus) rose in January-November 2020 by 18% year on year to 83,600 tonnes (70,600 tonnes a year earlier).
The Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), established in 1976, is a diversified company manufacturing chemicals and intermediates, industrial polymers, fertilizers and metals. Today SABIC is the largest industrial concern in the Persian Gulf, producing about 10% of all world petrochemical products. The state owns 70% of the share capital of SABIC.