BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Chemical company Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) won permission from the European Commission on Friday to buy GE Plastics from General Electric Co. in a $11.6 billion cash deal.
“The Commission found that the product portfolios of both companies are largely complementary, Sabic focussing on raw materials and commodity plastics, GE Plastics being rather specialised in more refined types of plastics,” the Commission said in a statement.
GE Plastics, headquartered in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, employs 10,300 people in 60 countries and makes resins used in products ranging from health care equipment to packaging for consumer goods.
It has major factories in Indiana, New York, West Virginia and Alabama. In 2006, the division’s profit fell 22 percent to $674 million on slightly higher revenue of $6.65 billion.
As a top-ranked maker of petrochemicals, SABIC will be in a position to lower the raw-materials costs of the plastics business.
SABIC looks to borrow around $8.7 billion to pay for what is the largest acquisition ever made by a Gulf investor.
GE said it would receive net after-tax proceeds of about $9 billion, which would primarily be put toward its current stock buyback, upping its buyback target from $6 billion to a range of $8 billion to $9 billion.