Braskem eyes US opportunity, upbeat on 2014

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013

Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem (NYSE: BAK) is looking for finance for an ethane cracker and polyethylene (PE) plants that parent company Odebrecht is planning to build in West Virgina, Braskem's CEO Carlos Fadigas said.

Speaking at an industry event in São Paulo, Fadigas said that "there is an opportunity for value creation, which will be pursued by Braskem, Odebrecht and anyone else who wants join the investor group."

"It would make sense for [Brazilian development bank] BNDES and other institutions to participate," he said.

Braskem does not have the financial resources to invest by itself in the new project, as it is investing in a US$3.2bn Ethylene XXI project in Mexico, and preparing to make a final investment decision on the Comperj project in Brazil.

Odebrecht will construct the olefins complex in West Virginia, which will be operated by Braskem and use ethane from shale gas.

Fadigas said that for 2014 the company expects Brazilian demand for thermoplastic resins to increase by around the same level as GDP, between 2.5% and 3%.

"It is possible that there will be some increase in activity at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, in preparation for a period of more intense consumption," he said. Brazil hosts the World Cup in June and July 2014, which could lead to higher demand for plastic products.

Fadigas declined to comment on ongoing discussions with Brazil's national oil company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), Braskem's second largest shareholder, about the price of the naphtha that Petrobras supplies Braskem as feedstock for most of its petrochemicals.

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