London, Asharq Al-Awsat- GE today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell GE Plastics to Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), in a deal valued at $11.6 billion in cash plus assumption of liabilities. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals, and is targeted for the third quarter of 2007.
“Over the past five years, we have transformed our portfolio of businesses through smart dispositions and investments in higher-growth, higher technology businesses,” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said. “This transaction is another important step in the execution of this strategy, which has created a faster-growing, higher-returning set of businesses capable of delivering sustained performance.
“This sale is the right move at the right time for GE shareowners,” Immelt said. “We received a good price from a respected global company in a highly competitive bidding process. We will use the proceeds to fund the stock buyback and strengthen the company through restructuring,” Immelt said.
“SABIC is the right owner for our customers and our employees,” Immelt said. “This transaction will transform the plastics industry by combining SABIC’s low-cost materials position and global reach with GE Plastics’ strong marketing and technology capabilities. SABIC also has a record of investing in acquired businesses and their people. They have committed to support the U.S. and global growth of the Plastics business, and they value the Plastics team and its facilities across the U.S. and the rest of the world.
“This transaction is also good for other GE businesses,” Immelt said. “GE has long-standing relationships with SABIC and others in Saudi Arabia who buy many energy, healthcare, aviation and high-technology products,” Immelt said. “SABIC has committed to strengthen its relationship with GE, which is good for our businesses and employees that make these products.”
GE will receive net after-tax proceeds from the sale of approximately $9 billion. The proceeds will be principally used to re-launch the current stock buyback, increasing the 2007 planned share repurchase from $6 billion to $7-to-8 billion. The sale will generate an approximate after-tax gain of $1.5 billion, which will be used to fund restructuring across GE’s businesses and the share repurchase.
Mohammed Al-Mady, vice chairman and CEO of SABIC, said, “This acquisition of GE Plastics represents another step in SABIC’s growth and diversification to become one of the world’s leading manufacturing companies. GE Plastics is a high-quality organization with a great tradition at GE and it brings people, products and technology of significant value for our customers and our growth. It is a good addition for us and an important business relationship. The deal brings us a new market and 30,000 important customers worldwide.”
GE Plastics is a $6.645 billion global supplier of plastic resins widely used in automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, transportation, performance packaging, building and construction, telecommunications, and optical media. It is headquartered in Pittsfield, MA. and employs 10,300 people in 60 locations worldwide with outstanding records of quality and environmental performance.
SABIC is one of the world’s 10 largest petrochemicals manufacturers ranked by market capitalization (currently U.S.$ 80 billion). The company is among the world’s market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene, glycols, methanol, and fertilizers as well as the fourth largest polymer producer. SABIC has record of operating excellence in safety, health and environmental protection for all of its facilities around the world.