Friday, 21 August 2009

Asian takeover of BorsodChem?

An investor from Asia is reportedly eyeing Hungary's pvc maker, BorsodChem. According to, an Asian investor has been buying up tranches of the East European chemical company's debt.

This is worrying for the comapny's CEO, Wolfgang Buchele, who is worried that the group's technology may be exported and his plants shut down. This all has echoes of the early 2000's, when rumours flew around about a stealthy Russian takeover of the group. It is quite near the border with Ukraine and pipelines link it to that country. It seemed at the time a natural target for Russian petrochemical companies looking for access to Europe.

From the Asian story: An Asian investor may have "bought a significant part of BorsodChem's mezzanine loans with the involvement of investment banks could be a source of uncertainty at the Hungarian chemicals company as the investor has not yet informed BorsodChem in writing of its role, chairman-CEO Wolfgang Buchele told [Hungarian news agency] MTI on Monday in Kazincbarcika.

"We see hostile intentions in the events because if interests were mutual, there would be no need to involve investment banks," Mr Buchele said. He added that BorsodChem's central strategy had always been to use its cutting edge technology to become one of Europe's leading isocyanate makers: if this technology goes to Asia, Hungary would not only lose a production unit, but the chance of further developments, and ongoing investments would be halted.

The management of BorsodChem, which is deep in debt, has been in talks with the government on a loan from the state-owned Hungarian Development Bank (MFB).

BorsodChem was profitable in both June and July because of favourable market conditions, but also because of cost-cutting measures, Mr Buchele said. Costs were reduced without making mass layoffs, he added."

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