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LyondellBasell takeover bid, Huhtamaki revamp continues

By Rory Harrington , 23-Nov-2009

Reliance Industries has made an offer for LyondellBasell, and Finish company Huhtamaki announced it will turn its attentions to Europe after completing the overhaul of its Australian packing operations.

The corporate takeover and divestment news comes as the fallout from the global recession continues to be felt.

Indian giant Reliance Industries made a bid over the weekend to buy a controlling share in LyondellBasell once the troubled plastics and polymer company emerges from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. No financial details have been confirmed but reports suggest Reliance could pay between $10-12bn for the Rotterdam-based outfit that went into administration at the beginning of 2009.

LyondellBasell had revenue of $50.7bn in 2008, with about 35 per cent of this coming from its plastics operations. The rest came from fuels and chemical divisions.

The company confirmed it had received a preliminary non-binding offer from Reliance Industries Limited to acquire for cash a controlling interest in the company contemporaneously with the company's emergence from Chapter 11”. It said the proposal was a “potential alternative” to its previous reorganisation plan.

Last week, Reliance chief Mukesh Ambani announced the company’s intention to grow by acquisition. Victor Shum, analyst at Purvin & Gertz Inc, told Bloomberg the deal would make Reliance a “very significant global player”.

Huhtamaki

Huhtamaki has completed the review of its rigid plastics operations in Australia with the sell-off of its consumer goods company to Alto Manufacturing Pty Ltd for €33m.

The Finish-based company said the move meant it had now reached the halfway point of its overall strategic review of net assets and would now turn its attention to its European rigid plastics division. Company CEO Jukka Moisio said that a sale was one possible outcome of the business overhaul.

The latest Australian divestment, which has three plants and employs 330 people, has annual sales of around €50m, said Huhtamaki. The deal is expected to be completed before the end of the month.

“We are pleased to be able to finalize the strategic review of our rigid plastic consumer goods business for Australia’s part approximately in a year from the strategy announcement”, said Moisio.

He confirmed this was Pact Group’s second acquisition from Huhtamaki after the company had bought its Australian EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) operations. The divested units served multinational and local customers with dairy, ice cream and edible fats packaging, added the Huhtamaki chief.

The company said its Australian business would continue with its rigid paper and plastic foodservice operations in Windsor, its rough moulded fibre packaging in Preston and flexible sales unit in Waverly.