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November 17, 2014

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Kuwaitis to get Dow’s divested shares

KUWAIT plans to offer to the public the shares in Kuwaiti joint ventures which US petrochemicals giant Dow Chemical Co plans to sell off, state news agency KUNA quoted a senior Kuwaiti executive as saying.

Dow Chemical said last week that as part of a US$7-8.5 billion divestiture plan, it would reduce its equity positions in all of its Kuwaiti ventures, in order to release capital for other strategic purposes. It did not give details.

The US company’s investments in Kuwait include a stake in EQUATE, a tie-up with the Kuwaiti government’s Petrochemical Industries Co (PIC) and two other local partners, Boubyan Petrochemical Co and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Co. EQUATE produces over 5 million tons of petrochemical products annually.

KUNA quoted PIC’s Chief Executive Asaad al-Saad as saying that the shares which Dow Chemical divested would be offered to Kuwaiti citizens in initial public offerings.

He did not elaborate on how these offers would work or when they would occur.

Consultants will be hired to assess the size of Dow Chemical’s assets in Kuwait, and the US firm will remain a strategic partner of PIC, he said.

Dow Chemical’s other joint ventures in the country include Kuwait Olefins Co, which owns an ethane cracker and an ethylene glycol production unit, and Kuwait Styrene Co, which makes styrene monomer.

In the last several months, Kuwait’s government has shown renewed interest in offering shares in state-controlled assets to the public to share the country’s oil wealth with its citizens and impose more market discipline on companies.


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