Access Industries and Chatterjee win Basell

New York-based Access Industries and private investment firm The Chatterjee Group have won the auction for Basell, the world’s largest maker of polypropelene, in a €4.4bn buyout from Royal Dutch Shell. The deal is to be funded via a €2.2bn loan facility and a circa €1.1bn high-yield bond, which is expected to come to the market some time in July market conditions permitting.

Merrill Lynch and CSFB are arranging the debt backing, providing an exit for the Royal Dutch/Shell and BASF 50:50 joint venture. The sale is part of Shell’s divestment programme, which aims to raise up to US$15bn by 2008 to invest in oil and gas development and exploration. BASF meanwhile is offloading its stake to enable it to concentrate on other plastics. The auction for Basell was reportedly initially won by Iran’s state-owned National Petrochemical, but that deal was scuppered after mounting US opposition.