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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

RIL may have to up its bid for Lyondell

The race to acquire LyondellBasell is still wide open ten days after Reliance Industries had upped its offer for the bankrupt chemicals company to $14.5 billion.

Agency reports, quoting the New York Post, say that a new creditor group led by US private equity firm Apollo Management is “expected to reject” the RIL bid. This would then pave the way for Apollo to merge LyondellBasell with its Hexion Specialty Chemicals operations, the paper said.

The Post also quoted one Lyondell creditor as saying “Reliance is making a mistake by not offering more.” It went on to say that Lyondell may file a reorganisation plan with the US bankruptcy court to transfer ownership to the creditors.

Sources said it now remains to be seen if RIL would up its offer to a level of $16 billion which will still keep it in the race. “By the end of the day, the company would have set itself an upper limit for the offer and may not be inclined to stretch itself beyond a point,” they added.

With RIL mum on the issue, as has been the case over the last few weeks, it is hard to say if it will still go ahead with the Lyondell bidding. “The company did not waste too much time increasing its stake from $13.5 billion to $14.5 billion; it could well do something similar again,” sources said.

Should RIL decide to call it quits at this stage, the curtains will have come down on a high-voltage script that had grabbed the interest of investors across the world

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