Blavatnik seeks up to 15 pct stake in new Lyondell

March 11 (Reuters) -- Billionaire Len Blavatnik, who led the 2007 leveraged buyout that created LyondellBasell, will seek a stake of up to 15 percent in the reorganized petrochemical maker when it exits bankruptcy protection, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Blavatnik's New York-based industrial holding company Access Industries has agreed to commit as much as $800 million to backstop a rights offering to take the company out of bankruptcy, along with private equity investors Apollo Management and Ares Corporate Opportunities Fund.

"Access has actively supported Lyondell during its reorganization because we believe in the company's future," Blavatnik said in a statement on Wednesday. "We have backed up that belief with our commitment to invest up to $800 million."

Apollo, which has committed to invest up to $1.5 million, according to court papers, would likely end up with a larger stake in the new Lyondell than Access, while Ares would end up with a smaller stake than Access, this person said. The person asked not to be named because the details about the equity stakes are not public.

Ares may invest up to $475 million in the rights offering, according to court papers.

Access had acquired control of Basell AF, which is known for producing polypropylene chemicals in 2005. The 2007 merger with Lyondell created the third largest independent chemicals maker in the world, with 2008 revenues of $50.7 billion.

Lyondell filed for bankruptcy in January 2009 as it suddenly faced a cash crisis, under the weight of billions in debt and a decline in global demand for petrochemicals during the recession.

Earlier this week the company rejected a takeover bid from India's Reliance Industries Ltd that valued the firm at $14.5 billion, and said it will seek court approval to send its own reorganization plan out to its creditors for a vote.

Lyondell hopes to exit bankruptcy later this year and plans to list new shares on the New York Stock Exchange once it emerges from court protection.


MRC Reference

LyondellBasell. The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PE - 1.4% (including HDPE - 2.5%, LDPE - 0.3%);
PP - 4.1% (including block-copolymers - 9.5%).

Annual sales growth in Russia, during the recent 5 years:
PE - 27%;
PP - 88%.

The leader in the following polymers processing technologies:

pipe extrusion;

film extrusion;

injection molding.

Ineos's PE swing facility in Grangemouth resumes operations

March 10 (plasteurope) -- Ineos has resumed operations at its swing plant for the production of HDPE and LLDPE, located in Grangemouth / UK.

However, in response to a query by PIE, a company spokesman said that force majeure - announced in January 2010 - remained in place.


MRC Reference

Ineos is a petrochemical group.
In Russia Ineos's interests are represented by Ineos Polyolefins and IneosChlorVinyls.

The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PVC - 4.5%;

polyethylene - 1.9%
(HDPE - 2.8%, LDPE - 1.2%);
polypropylene - 1.4%
(PP-random - 22.1%, PP-impact - 2.0%);
polystyrene - 0.9%.

Imports by polymers processing technologies:
profile extrusion;
pipe extrusion;
film extrusion;
injection molding.

Sinopec mulls project to expand integrated oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Fujian

March 10 (plastemart) -- China's number one oil refiner Sinopec is mulling a partnership with ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco to expand it's existing integrated oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Fujian with a refinery to process 12 mln tons of crude and 1 mln tpa ethylene plant. Rapidly growing demand for refined oil products in Fujian province is fueling the project. Currently, a feasibility study is underway.

Robust economic recovery is expected to prop demand in China. China's petrochemical industry may see 13-15% year-on-year revenue growth in 2010, with total investment in the petrochemical industry expected to grow by 15%, according to the China Petroleum & Chemical Industry Association (CPCIA). China's petrochemical industry includes oil and gas extraction, oil refining, chemical production and equipment manufacturing. The sector posted turnover of 6.63 trillion yuan in 2009, up 0.3% from a year ago.


A new round of expansion at Sinopec-BASF Nanjing production site

March 10 (plastemart) -- In a bid to meet rising domestic demand, a fresh round of expansion is currently underway at Sinopec-BASF partnered BASF-YPC Co Ltd complex at a total outlay of US$1.4 bln.

The move conforms with China's stimulus plan for the petrochemical industry and will help better serve Chinese customers. Another key strategy BASF has used to face the financial crisis is to put a strong focus on targeted industries, such as the automotive and construction sectors.


Bayer to acquire Artificial Muscle

March 10 (prw) -- Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) is acquiring the US-based Artificial Muscle, a manufacturer of electroactive polymers for the consumer electronics industry, for an undisclosed sum.

Through the acquisition, BMS will gain access to Artificial Muscle's product portfolio so will be able to move into the market for electroactive polymers.

AMI polymers are used in actuators and sensing component, for example, in touchscreen panels used in consumer electronics, says BMS. This technology has applications in devices like smartphones, gaming controllers and touchpads.

⌠The takeover of AMI allows us to expand in a new market sector, says Dr Joachim Wolff, head of the BMS Coatings, Adhesives and Specialties unit. ⌠We invest heavily in R&D and this agreement further strengthens our position as a solution provider.

Urethanes Technology International reports that for functional films which can replace complex electronic components made of many parts, which are labour-intensive to assemble, the market for such components was worth $650m (┬478m) in 2005 and is predicted to reach $1bn (┬736m) by 2020, and $2.5bn (┬1.8bn) in 2025 (figures from market research group IDTechEx).


MRC Reference

The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PS - 0.7% (ABS - 7.2%).

Annual sales growth in Russia over the last 5 years:
PS - (-10%).

Polymers processing technologies:
injection molding.