Styrolution CEO Triggers Speculation Over BASF Exit Plans
BASF and Ineos are seeking to quell speculation over impending ownership changes at their 50:50 styrenic polymers joint venture Styrolution after the jv's CEO Roberto Gualdoni was quoted as saying at a press briefing in Frankfurt that BASF does not consider this a core business. The Ludwigshafen chemical giant stressed subsequently that are no plans for changes in the shareholder structure of the 2011 asset merger, and Ineos that there is no need for urgent action.
Gualdoni told journalists that Ineos has a call option to acquire the BASF stake from February 2014 and BASF a put option to sell its share to Ineos after October 2014. Other possible exit scenarios could be an initial public option or a sale to a third party.
The move by the industry majors to combine their styrenics activities two years ago was widely seen as a first step toward consolidation of an oversupplied market. Before entering the jv with Ineos, BASF had unsuccessfully tried to sell its business. The combined portfolio includes styrene monomer (SM), polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), styrene-butadiene block copolymers (SBC) and other styrenic copolymers.
In Frankfurt, Styrolution said the company is on track to significantly improve earnings and realize cost savings of around €200m as a result of the asset merger. The jv is focusing on customers in the automotive, electronics, construction, domestic appliances and packaging sectors as well as on specialty chemicals, and aims to generate half its revenue from emerging markets by the end of the decade.