July 23, 2008

German Firm to Sell Stake in Cognis Malaysia

By Zaidi Isham Ismail

GERMANY'S oleochemical giant Cognis Deutschland GmbH & Co KG plans to sell its 50 per cent stake in Cognis Oleochemicals (M) Sdn Bhd (Cognis Malaysia) to focus on other businesses.

Cognis Malaysia is a joint venture between Cognis Deutschland and the then Golden Hope Plantations Bhd which owns the other 50 per cent.

Golden Hope was merged under Sime Darby Bhd last December.

A source said Cognis Deutschland is expected to sell the stake to Thailand's PTT Chemical Public Company Ltd in a deal worth as much as RM1 billion.

The stock exchange of Thailand-listed PTT Chemical's principal activities are manufacturing and selling petrochemical products and byproducts.

A source said the signing ceremony is expected to take place today in Kuala Lumpur to mark the entry of Sime Darby's new partner.

"Sime Darby is not buying the remaining 50 per cent stake in Cognis due to lack of related marketing skills and expertise. Plus, PTT Chemical already has ready buyers," said a source.

Golden Hope bought the 50 per cent stake in Cognis Malaysia in July 2005.

The deal then was believed to be worth at least RM300 million, elevating the merged entity as one of the world's leading oleochemical companies with a total revenue of around US$850 million (RM2.75 billion) as at 2004.

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