Le Seda de Barcelona in preliminary talks with five potential minority partners to help develop its PET, chemical operations, but company could sell its PET polymer, raw material plants to raise capital if no partner found

LOS ANGELES , November 6, 2012 () –

Le Seda de Barcelona SA (LSB) is looking for capital to develop its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and chemical operations and would either link up with a minority partner or sell off some assets, reported European Plastics News on Nov. 6.

The Spain-based packaging producer is in preliminary talks with five possible partners and is hopeful that it will be able to reach an agreement with a suitable partner in the first quarter of 2012, said a company spokesperson.

The discussions are centered on a partner taking a 25% stake in a new business that would combine all of the group’s upstream PET, terephthalic acid, glycol and PET recycling operations, European Plastics News reported.

If a partner is not found, the company would consider selling its PET polymer and raw materials plants to raise capital, said Carlos Moreira da Silva, LSB’s executive president, following an extraordinary shareholders meeting.

LSB has PET plants in Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey, as well as raw material chemical plants in Spain and Portugal, reported European Plastics News.

Selling its assets in Spain, Portugal and Greece might be difficult. The mostly likely initial divestment of a PET asset would be in Turkey, where the economy is relatively strong, Moreira said at a news conference after the meeting.

LSB will continue to operate despite its liquidity problems, with projected sales in its petrochemicals business expected to be reached in the first few months of 2013, Moreira said, European Plastics News reported.

Further capacity cuts are not expected at the company’s 170,000 tonnes/year Artenius PET plant at El Prat de Llobregat near Barcelona, said Moreira. The plant, which is operating at 70% of capacity, cut 15 jobs in March.

LSB’s 200,000 tonnes/year PET plant at San Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy, is running at 50% of capacity, but its 130,000 tonnes/year PET unit in Adana, Turkey, and its 80,000 tonnes/year PET plant in Volos, Greece, are running full-out, reported Plastics News.

In July, the company unsuccessfully tried to raise €40 million (US$51.3 million) in new share capital.

LSB might have a hard time in the coming year due to Europe’s sluggish economy and strong Euro, said Moreira. The company reported a first-half 2012 operating loss of €12.3 million versus a €5.1 million profit a year earlier, Plastics News reported.

The primary source of this article is European Plastics News, London, England, on Nov. 6, 2012.


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