Buyers Said to Be in Sight for PVC Producer Kem One

A commercial court in Lyon, France, has extended until July 5 the deadline for companies to submit bids to acquire insolvent PVC producer Kem One, the former Arkema business. The proceedings initially were to be wrapped up by June 30.

Insolvency administrator Bruno Sapin told French trade unions that he has received seven letters of interest from companie, individuals and organisations mulling plans to buy the company. Although the potential buyers were not identified, one proposal was said to be from a European strategic investor, three from American, British and Italian private equity funds and two from private individuals. A seventh is said to have come from the trade union CGT, which wants to create a consortium of public and private interests to run the company.

A court hearing scheduled for July 9 will be held as planned, and will focus on a review of the status of bids in hand. Authorities are said to be expecting additional bidders.

Meanwhile, Kem One said production has returned to near-normal levels at all of its plants, following the resumption of ethylene supply. As part of a compromise agreement in the long-running dispute between the company's former owner Arkema and its current owner, Swiss-based Klesch, over the state of the business's finances at the time of acquisition a year ago, the insolvency administrator asked Arkema's parent, French oil and petrochemical producer Total, to continue ethylene supply at a rebate against the contract reference price.

Arkema had promised the insolvency administrator and the French government to contribute €68 million to keep the PVC producer afloat until a new owner has been found.

In April, reports said €105 million was regarded as necessary to keep production going for a six-month period. 

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