March 29, 2019 / 2:51 PM / in 24 days

Saudi's SABIC sticking with growth plans, will discuss synergies with Aramco

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Basic Industries Corp’s (SABIC) investment plans will not be affected by oil giant Aramco’s purchase of a 70 percent stake in the company, its chief executive said on Friday, adding SABIC would look to integrate assets with Aramco to boost growth.

FILE PHOTO: Saudi's SABIC CEO Yousef al-Benyan attends the Saudi-India Forum in New Delhi, India, February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/File Photo

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, agreed on Wednesday to buy the stake in SABIC from Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund (PIF) for $69.1 billion (53.06 billion pounds) in one of the biggest deals in the global chemical industry.

The deal will take six to 12 months to complete, and there won’t be any layoffs, change in management or impact on SABIC’s balance sheet, Yousef al-Benyan told Reuters in a phone interview.

“Once the anti-trust clearance is obtained, then immediately we will put a team together to look at areas of synergies in order for us to leverage our shareholder value,” he said.

Aramco has been increasing its investments in refining and petrochemicals to secure new markets for its crude.

Benyan said Aramco would rely heavily on SABIC to become its chemical arm, which would boost growth and help SABIC advance from its current position as the world’s third largest petrochemicals company.

He said it was premature, before anti-trust approval, to say which of the companies’ assets and markets could be integrated, but didn’t rule out the possibility of SABIC combining with Aramco’s petrochemical assets in Saudi Arabia or other markets.

“Since Aramco became active in the chemical industry, people were saying why do both Aramco and SABIC compete in the same space, and I think at this point we are really having an opportunity to generate value for both shareholders,” he said.

“If there is an asset that needs to be rationalised, integrated, downsized or expanded, that all should be part of our collaboration, but it will have to go through the proper M&A activity, proper valuation and due diligence,” he added.

Aramco plans to increase its refining capacity from 4.9 million to 8-10 million barrels per day by 2030.

Aramco and SABIC have petrochemicals production capacity of 17 and 62 million tons per year, respectively.

The stake purchase will inject billions of dollars into the PIF, giving it the firepower to proceed with its plans to create jobs and diversify the largest Arab economy beyond oil exports.

Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Mark Potter

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