LyondellBasell to shed Argentinian petrochemical assets

LyondellBasell, Houston, has reached an agreement for the sale of its wholly owned subsidiary Petroken Petroquimica Ensenada SA (Petroken), which operates a 180,000-tonne/year polypropylene (PP) plant in the port city of Ensenada, 50 km southeast of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

YPF SA, Buenos Aires, and Grupo Inversor Petroquimica SL, Madrid, will purchase LyondellBasell’s 100% interest in Petroken for cash proceeds of about $162 million, LyondellBasell said.

Valued at $145 million on a debt and cash-free basis, the transaction is scheduled to close later this year following approval from Brazilian antitrust authority Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Economica (CADE).

The sale comes as part of LyondellBasell’s long-term growth strategy to focus on operations in regions and on assets that will maximize returns to company shareholders, said Tim Roberts, LyondellBasell’s executive vice-president for global olefins and polyolefins.

Petroken, Argentina’s largest PP producer, will continue to provide support, service, and products to its customers until the sale is finalized, current owner LyondellBasell said.

A timeframe for CADE’s approval of the deal was not disclosed.

LyondellBasell assumed full ownership of Petroken, which  also operates a propylene splitter and 20,000-tpy advanced polyolefins compounding plant at Ensenada, in 2005 after purchasing joint-venture partner Repsol YPF’s 50% interest, according to a Mar. 11, 2005, release from the company.

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