Sibur Said Preparing for IPO

26.07.2018 -

Russian petrochemical and plastics giant Sibur is preparing for an initial public offering (ipo) that could be worth $2-3 billion, the news agency Reuters has reported, citing financial market sources.

The stock market debut of eastern Europe’s largest petrochemical producer could take place by the end of 2018, said the news agency’s sources, adding that the company may be looking at parallel listings in Moscow and London.

Sibur, which Reuters said has long mulled a share placement on the open market but faced delays for various reasons, would not be drawn on the reports, saying only that it was considering “strategic options” on how to finance its growth.

Currently, the company is owned to 48.5% by Russian businessman Leonid Mikhelson, who is chief executive and a major shareholder in the country’s largest gas producer, Novatek, Mikhelson’s business partner Gennady Timchenko reportedly holds 17%, while China’s Sinopec and Silk Fund control 10% each.

Presumably, not all of the company would be floated. One of Reuters’ sources said Mikhelson may sell part of his stake, while Timchenko and another large shareholder, Kirill Shamalov, both of whom are under US sanctions, would be likely to retain their shares. Sibur as a company is not under sanctions.

Two sources told the news agency that JPMorgan and Russia’s Gazprombank are among possible arrangers of the stock transaction. None of the parties potentially involved has been willing to comment as yet. There has also been no word as to whether only existing shares would be floated or whether Sibur would issue new shares for an ipo.

The Russian company is currently in the throes of building the ZapSibNefteKhim petrochemical complex in western Siberia, which will be one of the world’s five largest. The complex is expected to reach mechanical completion in the second quarter of 2019, followed by the start-up of plants units in sequence.

The $9.5 billion project, expected to triple the company’s polymers capacity and nearly double Russia’s total polyolefins output, was nearly 75% complete at end of February this year, Sibur’s managing board chairman Dmitry Konov told a chemical news service in March.

The complex is expected to produce 1.5 million t/y of polyethylene and 500,000 t/y of polypropylene, with the cracker turning out 1.5 million t/y of ethylene, 500,000 t/y of propylene, and 100,000 t/y of C4.

As Sibur can fall back on gas reserves in western Siberia, polymer materials produced at the Tobolsk could be produced at costs competitive with the new shale gas-fed petrochemicals capacities being built on the US Gulf Coast, Konov said.

Sergey Komyshan, executive director at the Moscow-based group, said in an interview with a plastics trade journal in April that PP will be one of the first plastics to be manufactured at the Russian site, as there is already propylene feedstock available on-site.

PE production is would go on stream as soon as the cracker ramps up.

Separately, Sibur is said to be looking for Asian partners to share the financial risk of another project, a gas chemicals complex in Russia’s far east that could require preliminary investments of up to $8 billion.