UK-based multinational chemical company INEOS has bought BP’s global aromatics and acetyls business for $5 billion (€4.45 million).
The business, which comprises five sites in the Americas, two in Europe and eight in Asia, as well as ten joint ventures, and employs more than 1,700 people, will become part of INEOS Styrolution, the company’s styrenics subsidiary. The acquisition includes BP’s assets, technology and licences.
INEOS says that the acquisition will extend its portfolio and reach, and is a good fit with its existing assets, allowing the company to expand its footprint in Geel, Belgium, and reintegrate its site in Hull, UK.
BP’s aromatics unit produces purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and paraxylene (PX) at six sites, supplying the global polyester industry, including for polyester fibre, film and PET packaging. The nine sites of the acetyls business produce acetic acid and derivatives for industries including food, pharmaceuticals, paints, adhesives and packaging. In 2019, they produced 9.7 million tonnes of petrochemicals.
‘This acquisition is a logical development of our existing petrochemicals business extending our interest in acetyls and adding a world leading aromatics business supporting the global polyester industry,’ says Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder and chairman of INEOS.
BP says that the sale is part of the reinvention of the company as it seeks to reposition itself for the energy transition. It had targeted $5 billion of divestments by 2021, and the INEOS sale means it has met its target early. CEO Bernard Looney says that he recognises that ‘the sale will come as a surprise.’
He adds: ‘Strategically, the overlap with the rest of bp is limited and it would take considerable capital for us to grow these businesses. As we work to build a more focused, more integrated BP, we have other opportunities that are more aligned with our future direction. Today’s agreement is another deliberate step in building a BP that can compete and succeed through the energy transition.’
The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, subject to regulatory approval.