Saudi Arabia’s Sabic Plans More Than Three Ventures in China

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s second-biggest chemicals manufacturer, plans more than three joint venture projects in China, according to acting Chief Executive Officer Yousef Al Benyan.

“There are good prospects there, and hopefully we will be able to announce them in the first quarter next year,” Al Benyan said, adding that he discussed potential ventures while on a visit to China last week. “We have more than three opportunities for joint ventures in China and we will announce them accordingly,” he said in an interview in Riyadh.

Sabic, as the Riyadh-based company controlled by the Saudi government is known, announced earlier this month a global restructuring to make itself more agile and cost-efficient. The company, which acquired General Electric Co.’s plastics unit for $11.6 billion in 2007, plans to expand in China and the U.S.

The Middle East’s biggest petrochemicals maker has more than 40,000 employees worldwide, according to its website, and said this month it intends to cut about 140 jobs while integrating some business units.

“The restructuring plans will also result in some redundancies in the U.S. and will have the most impact on Europe,” Al Benyan said. The reorganization won’t affect the company’s operations in the Middle East, he said.

Sabic, the second-largest chemical company after BASF SE based on market capitalization, is also on track to expand investment in U.S. shale gas projects through joint ventures, according to Al Benyan.

“We are still very engaged in several opportunities in shale gas investments in the U.S.,” he said. “Current market conditions place some pressure on some of these investment opportunities, but in the long term these investment are feasible and we are hoping to announce some of these investments in the U.S. next year.”

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