Lanxess In Talks With Minority Partner for Rubber

10.02.2015 -

Lanxess has confirmed reports that is in talks with potential partners about the sale of a minority stake in parts of its synthetic rubber businesses but without giving names or providing specific details.

When returning to the German specialty chemicals producer last year as CEO, Matthias Zachert said that plans for minority joint ventures were an option for getting the sagging business back on its feet. Rubber markets have been increasingly dogged by global overcapacity.

Citing "people with knowledge of the matter," the news agency Bloomberg said Saudi Arabian Oil Co was one of the interested parties.

Bloomberg said two proposals have already been submitted, with one party interested in a stake of about 40 %.

Lanxess is looking for a partner with access to cheap crude-oil and gas-related raw materials amid overcapacity and pressure on prices in the market for synthetic rubber used in car tires.

The news agency's sources noted that Saudi Aramco, the world's largest crude exporter, would have the financial clout to aggressively expand the business globally to take on low-cost competitors in emerging markets, including India's Reliance Industries and Russia's Sibur.

It is unclear whether the potential share sales pertain to the whole of Lanxess' Performance Polymers unit, which also includes the engineering plastics PA and PBT, or only parts of the portfolio. Bloomberg said potential investors have been asked to present letters of intent containing a draft proposal.