Versalis, the chemical division of the Italian oil company Eni, confirms that it is in the process of implementing an action plan that will lead to a resumption of operations at the former biorefinery of Mossi Ghisolfi Group in Crescentino, which were acquired in November 2018. New 35 hires are expected by the end of the year.
“The bioeconomy offers great opportunities for the European chemical industry to create new products, diversify its raw material base and reduce its dependence on non-renewable resources”. To say it – in this long exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista – is Daniele Ferrari, CEO Versalis, the Chemical Division of Italian oil giant ENI, and President CEFIC, the European Chemical Industry Council. Ferrari talks with us about the main challenges the European chemical industry is facing, the circular bioeconomy and the next steps of Versalis in the green chemistry field.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
“The Ipo (Initial public offering, editor’s note) of Versalis is not yet in Eni’s plans”, Massimo Mondazzi, CFO of the Italian oil giant, said last Friday during a conference call with analysts answering the question about the chemical quotation hypothesis. “We want to maintain and strengthen Versalis, there are no Ipo projects. The option is not in the plans,” he said.
The bio-butadiene (bio-BDE) technology developed by Versalis (Eni) in partnership with Genomatica has been named winner of the Environmental Achievement of the Year within the “Tire Technology International Awards for Excellence and Innovation”, the European independent award program for the tire industry.
Eni, the Italian oil giant, announces that the negotiations with the U.S. investment fund SK Capital over the sale of a majority share in Versalis S.p.A. have been terminated due to an impossibility to reach a resolution on certain issues, including the future governance of the company. Therefore, starting from the second quarter results, Eni will fully consolidate Versalis within the group’s accounts.
The conclusion of the Versalis deal is near. Claudio De Scalzi, Ceo of Eni, told the trade unions the company will decide whether to sell 70% of its chemical division to the US fund SK Capital in late May, early June.
The three main Italian trade unions in the chemical sector have reaffirmed the Ceo of the Italian oil giant their clear opposition to this possibility and asked to seek alternatives; one of these would be the CDP (Cassa Depositi e Prestiti), which is is an Italian bank founded in 1850 and constituted in its current form as a joint-stock company on 12 December 2003: 80.1% of the share capital is owned by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, the 18.4% is held by various banking foundations, while the remaining 1.5% in treasury shares.
It is not a good time to Versalis. But, despite the uncertainty about its future, the chemical company of Italian oil giant Eni continues to focus on green chemistry together with Elevance Renewable Sciences. The high-growth company (headquartered in Woodridge, Illinois), that creates novel specialty chemicals from natural oils, has recently and successfully completed scale-up of a second-generation biorefinery technology of the company’s olefin metathesis technology, utilizing ethylene and natural oil feedstocks.
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”.
“We’re looking for a joint venture that will allow us to join forces to promote the business.” After days of rumors about the sale of its chemical division Versalis, yesterday the Ceo of Eni, Claudio Descalzi, gave this short answer to the reporters who urged him on the issue. It is at the same time a confirmation of the will of the Italian oil giant to back away from chemistry.
The advisor Barclays would then be at work not to look for buyers but partners and – if according to the agency Bloomberg would be affected several private equity firms – rumors in Italy say it has already started a negotiations with a private fund.
Versalis, Italian oil giant Eni’s chemical company and a major producer in the polymers and elastomers industry, Ecombine and EVE Rubber Institute – respective subsidiary and affiliate companies of Mesnac, a Chinese global leading rubber & tire machinery corporation – announced a Joint Technology agreement to develop an innovative technology for high performance green tires.