ChemChina said to mull Asset Sales
ChemChina is studying potential asset sales as it prepares a mega merger with Sinochem Group, the news agency Bloomberg has reported, citing “people with knowledge of the matter.” Chinese authorities are said to have granted preliminary approval for the fusion, confirming rumors circulating for nearly two years.
According to the sources, ChemChina’s chairman, Frank Ning, who also leads Sinochem, has started reviewing the chemicals and energy groups’ portfolios to identify areas of overlap and potential synergies, thereby considering outright divestitures as well as initial public offerings for some units.
Potential flotations could include a minority stake in Swiss agrochemicals producer Syngenta, acquired by ChemChina last year for $43 billion. From the outset, the Chinese company said it might float part of Syngenta is to reduce the large volume of debt it took on in the largest purchase in Chinese history.
The Chinese chemical producer reportedly has already received pitches from investment banks about pursuing an ipo for Syngenta.
A merger of ChemChina and Sinochem to create an oil-to-chemicals giant with more than $100 billion of assets would change the landscape of the Chinese chemicals industry, the news agency notes, adding to a wave of consolidations that President Xi Jinping’s administration has pursued to shake up bloated state enterprises.
Alongside Syngenta, since its first overseas purchase, French animal nutrition specialist Adisseo Group, ten years ago ChemChina has acquired Adama Agricultural Solutions, an Israeli producer of crop protection products, as well as German machinery maker KraussMaffei, Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli and Norwegian silicon manufacturer Elkem, as well as a stake in Swiss commodity trader Mercuria Energy Group.
Some of the acquired companies have been listed or partlly listed. This includes Pirelli, which fetched $2.6 billion in an ipo last year, and Elkem, in March of this year.
Sinochem’s assets in chemicals include Sinochem International Corp., a chemical trader with a market value of $2.1 billion in Shanghai, and phosphate producer Sinofert.