The Italian green chemistry will speak American. Eni confirms that it is in search for a partner for Versalis, its synthetic rubber and chemicals company. In a meeting at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (Mise), between Mise, Eni, Versalis and representatives from the National Confederation of Industry and Trade Unions regarding the prospects for Eni’s petrochemical business, the Italian oil and gas company said it intended to retain a “significant stake” of Versalis in the partnership to “ensure its objectives are successfully met”.
According to the Italian Trade Unions, Eni is exclusively talking with investment fund SK Capital over the sale of a majority stake in its chemical unit. SK Capital is a private investment firm with a disciplined focus on the specialty materials, chemicals and healthcare sectors, headquartered in New York City.
According to the experts, the search for an investor is necessary in order to sell at least 70% of the company and provide capital for 1.2 billion euro for the shift to green chemistry, after burning since 2000 approximately 5.8 billion.
During the meeting at Mise, which was held last week, Eni confirmed the importance of the Versalis transformation plan. In just a short period of time, Versalis has reported positive results after having suffered significant losses in recent years. These results were visible in the first nine months of 2015. The transformation plan is centred on high value products (specialities), on efficiency improvements and the streamlining of operations, on international development through strategic partnerships with important global operators, and on the development of green chemicals.
However, the continuously changing global business environment still shows structural limitations, despite significant recent efforts across the industry. For this reason, Eni is seeking to identify a partner for Versalis, in order to strengthen the business further and to ensure the continuity of its investment and restructuring plans. Such a partner must have the availability and expertise to enable Versalis to either broaden or exchange its technology portfolio, so as to generate new development and investment opportunities.
The search for a partner for Versalis, in which Eni intends to retain a significant stake to ensure its objectives are successfully met, will take into account the following fundamental factors: confirmation of the investment plan, retention of the industrial layout for at least five years, the maintenance of current employment levels for at least three years, and retention of the Italian company headquartered in Italy.
During the meeting, Eni confirmed that it will continue to ensure ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders so they are kept abreast of future developments in a timely manner. Last Wednesday all Versalis’ plants in Italy were affected by a strike of 8 hours.