By Patrick Raleigh, ERJ On-line news editor
Prague-PKN Orlen SA has submitted the only binding offer for a 63-percent stake in Czech petrochemicals group Unipetrol AS, the Czech government's privatisation committee has announced. The Polish group's offer of around Euro400 million is now subject to approval by the Czech government.
MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas and Shell Europe Oil Products were previously also named as selected bidders for Unipetrol, which reported 2003 sales of around Euro1870 million. PKN ORLEN and MOL have recently announced plans for a â€œcloser cooperationâ€ between the two companies.
Unipetrol includes Kaucuk AS, which supplies a range of polymers, including styrene-butadiene rubber and liquid polybutadiene rubber. For 2002, Kaucuk estimated its elastomer production at 78 kilotonnes.
PKN ORLEN claims to be the largest refiner of crude oil and supplier of petroleum and related products in Central Europe. It includes a network of 1900 petrol stations in Poland and around 500 outlets in Germany.
Since March 2003 the company has operated a 50:50 polyethylene and polypropylene joint venture with Basell Europe Holdings. The company also supplies several petrochemical products to the rubber industry, including butadiene monomer.