SABIC to acquire remaining 50% of Shell venture for $820 million

The headquarters of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) in Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
Updated 22 January 2017
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SABIC to acquire remaining 50% of Shell venture for $820 million

ALKHOBAR: Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) has signed an agreement to acquire the 50 percent that it does not already own in its petrochemical venture with Shell Arabia, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell, for $820 million, SABIC said on Sunday.
“As per the partnership agreement between the two companies that stipulates the right of SABIC to renew or end the partnership by the end of 2020...SABIC decided to acquire the full stake of Shell, which is 50 percent,” it said.
SABIC, one of the world’s largest petrochemical firms, said the $820 million figure was based on the net value of the venture’s assets. It said the acquisition was in line with a strategy to develop its successful investments.
The venture, known as SADAF, was established in 1980 and operates six petrochemical plants with total annual output of over 4 million tons year of chemicals. It makes products including ethylene, crude industrial ethanol and styrene at a complex in Jubail, on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia.
The acquisition agreement is expected to be carried out before the end of this year, SABIC said, adding that it signed another memorandum of understanding with Shell Arabia on Sunday to boost the companies’ cooperation in unspecified international and local investments.
“We will continue to explore potential future opportunities with SABIC,” Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president of chemicals at Shell, said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters.
In 2014, SABIC and Shell shelved plans to expand SADAF as the results of feasibility studies were not encouraging. The expansion was to have added production of polyols, propylene oxide and styrene monomer.
Shell is involved in other downstream activities in Saudi Arabia; it has a crude oil refinery with Saudi Aramco in Jubail. (Reporting by Reem Shamseddine and Hadeel Al Sayegh)


Amazon strengthens ties with French food retailer Casino

Updated 23 April 2019
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Amazon strengthens ties with French food retailer Casino

  • The move could re-ignite speculation of a bigger deal later on
  • The extended partnership comes as Casino is selling assets and cutting debt to try to allay investor concerns

PARIS: E-commerce giant Amazon and French retailer Casino are expanding their partnership, with Amazon installing pick-up lockers in Casino stores and more of the French company’s products to be available on Amazon.
The move, which follows an initial co-operation between Casino’s upmarket Monoprix supermarket chain and Amazon in Paris, could re-ignite speculation of a bigger deal later on.
An Amazon spokeswoman said it had a policy of not commenting on market speculation. Amazon’s purchase of bricks-and-mortar US food retailer Whole Foods Market last year has raised speculation it could seek to buy a European food retailer.
The extended partnership comes as Casino is selling assets and cutting debt to try to allay investor concerns over its finances and those of parent company Rallye.
The deal, unveiled on Tuesday, will see Amazon lockers installed in 1,000 locations across France in nine of Casino’s brands, including Monoprix, Monop, Geant, Hyper Casino, Casino Supermarche, Leaderprice, Viva and Spar by the end of the year. The lockers store Amazon products to be picked up by customers.
More Casino-branded products will also be available on Amazon, while Amazon and Monoprix will extend their partnership on Amazon’s Prime Now grocery delivery service outside Paris and into new cities in the next twelve months.
“This announcement represents a new step in strengthening Casino’s omnichannel strategy to always be a little more in the heart of consumers’ lives,” said Casino’s chief executive Jean-Charles Naouri in a statement.
Monoprix, seen by analysts as similar to Whole Foods, started filling orders for subscribers to Amazon’s Prime loyalty program in parts of Paris last September.
This partnership has been closely watched as Monoprix was the first French retailer to agree in March 2018 to sell products via Amazon, causing a stir in the fiercely competitive domestic market.
France is Amazon’s third largest market in Europe, after Britain and Germany. Amazon is the e-commerce leader in France with a market share of 17.3 percent, but its grocery market share stands at just 2 percent, according to Kantar data.
The US group, which has run its Amazon Prime express delivery service in Paris since 2016, has made no secret of its desire to launch a grocery delivery service in France as part of its ambitions to expand in food retail.
But the French supermarket sector has powerful incumbents such as Carrefour and Leclerc, operating at low margins and with a dense network of stores.
Earlier this week, Casino said it would sell 12 Casino hypermarkets and 20 supermarkets to Apollo Global Management in a deal worth up to €470 million ($529 million).