Chinese Said Eyeing Braskem Takeover

22.03.2016 -

China could be poised for another spectacular takeover of a Western company, as China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is seen to be mulling a deal for Brazilian petrochemicals giant Braskem.

According to Brazilian news reports, CNOOC is already in talks with one of the company’s two major shareholders, state-owned oil company Petrobras with 36%, and the news agency Reuters said it may also be aiming to buy the 38% held by the largest shareholder construction conglomerate Odebrecht.

Earlier Reuters reports pointed to interest by Canadian private equity group Brookfield and Saudi Aramco.

Both potential sellers are said to need cash to finance ambitious expansion plans, and Odebrecht is believed to be under pressure to repay $130 billion in outstanding debts. At the same time, the company is embroiled in a corruption scandal, also thought to involve Petrobras, which has reportedly blocked its access to capital.

A sale by both shareholders would leave nearly 75% of Braskem in Chinese hands. Companies from the People’s Republic are already in the spotlight due to several recent major deals, including the planned acquisition of Swiss agrochemicals giant Syngenta for $43 billion and the purchase of German plastics machinery producer KraussMaffei for $1.1 billion at the beginning of this year.