July 24, 2008

PTTCH Buys Half of Cognis Oleochemical’s Shares

By Yuthana Praiwan, Bangkok Post, Thailand

Jul. 24--PTT Chemical (PTTCH), Asean's leading petrochemical producer, has acquired a 50 percent stake in the world's largest producer of oleochemicals in a deal worth 104 million.

The wholly owned subsidiary PTT Chemical International Private entered into the share purchase agreement with Cognis BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of the German-based chemical company that was the former shareholder of Cognis Oleochemicals.

"Our investment in Cognis Oleochemicals represents our strategy to pursue international growth opportunities that leverage our strengths," said Adithep Bisalbutr, the president and chief executive of PTTCH.

The transaction is expected to be completed in late September.

The remaining half of Cognis Oleochemicals was retained by its co-founder, Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia's Sime Darby Berhad, the world's leading palm oil planter and biodiesel supplier.

Yesterday the subsidiaries of PTTCH and Sime Darby signed a joint venture agreement in Cognis Oleochemical in Kuala Lumpur in a bid to strengthen their collaboration in expanding the company as the world leader in biofuels and oleochemicals. This agreement will take effect after the completion of the share purchase deal.

Based in Kuala Lumpur, Cognis Oleochemicals has production facilities in Germany, the United States, Canada, and Malaysia, with sales and service centres in the UK, Brazil, Japan, China and Hong Kong.

Sime Darby will continue to operate the oleochemical company, which is also the world's largest producer of palm oil and oleochemical products, a specialty product used as the main material for various products such as detergents, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and plastic additives.

"Our venture will strengthen our global leadership in value-added and diversified oleochemicals through a long-term commitment to invest in growth and a renewed focus on customer needs, market-driven reseach and development," said Mr Adithep.

Sime Darby Plantation accounts for 6 percent of global palm oil production, totalling 2.2 million tonnes of crude palm oil a year. It also has downstream production, including edible oil refining and biodiesel.

PTTCH shares closed yesterday on the SET at 72.50 baht, up 3.50 baht, in trade worth 211.36 million baht.


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