Exclusive: Lanxess in talks with Ineos over rubber joint venture

Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:46am EDT
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By Arno Schuetze and Matthias Inverardi

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German speciality chemicals company Lanxess (LXSG.DE: Quote) is in talks to put its main synthetic rubber business into a joint venture with petrochemicals group Ineos [INEOSE.UL], four people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Financial terms and the size of the stakes to be held in the new entity have yet to be agreed, but Ineos has jumped to the head of a queue of interested parties and a deal could be signed within the next few weeks, the sources said.

Lanxess has also held talks with Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco)[SDABO.UL] and Russia's NKNK (NKNC.MM: Quote) and Sibur [SIBUR.UL], but negotiations over the sale of a stake or pooling of assets have proved difficult, other sources familiar with the matter said.

Shares in Lanxess were up 2.4 percent by 1218 GMT, reversing earlier losses.

Saudi Aramco, Sibur, NKNK and Lanxess declined to comment and Ineos did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The search for a strategic partner for the leading global player in synthetic rubber began more than a year ago as the company sought to combat oversupply in the industry.

Lanxess has asked prospective partners to submit final offers in the next few weeks, one person familiar with the matter said.

Chief Executive Matthias Zachert has said the group could partner with a supplier of butadiene to be less exposed to swings in the market for synthetic rubber's main raw material.   Continued...

A logo of Lanxess is seen next to dark clouds at Cologne Bonn airport 
 March 27, 2015.    REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay