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Thursday, January 21, 2010

RIL Industries's Lyondell prospects fade

Reliance Industries (RIL) suffered a setback in its attempt to take over Luxembourg-based LyondellBasell Industries on Tuesday after a US court dismissed a creditors’ petition seeking a bigger role for potential investors such as RIL in rescuing the bankrupt company.

US bankruptcy judge Robert Gerber dismissed the motion filed by unsecured creditors seeking the installation of a court examiner to ensure that Lyondell gives due consideration to the RIL offer.

He also dismissed another petition by the committee urging him to give it the right to come up with a restructuring plan after working with potential investors like Reliance Industries. Gerber, instead, gave Lyondell management time till April 15 to win approvals for its current plan of restructuring, something that has no role for RIL.

“... With so much going on, I’m not of a mind to open up exclusivity to anybody other than the debtors,” the Judge said.

The move has put a stop to efforts to put together an alternate takeover plan involving RIL by Lyondell creditors. If RIL wants to take over Lyondell, it will require the unlikely scenario of the Lyondell management amending its plan of reorganisation and giving a role to the Indian company.

RIL has raised more than $2 billion since September, ostensibly to support its takeover bid for the bankrupt petrochem and refining major. RIL is reported to have expressed its willingness to value the company at $13.5 billion, $1 billion less than the value ascribed to it by the company’s own restructuring plan.

The move to extend the exclusivity period has effectively put RIL at the mercy of the Lyondellbasell management, which has been accused of conflict of interest when comparing RIL’s offer with that of its current owner, Len Blavatnik.

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