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Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) has signaled a willingness to raise its informal offer to 60 euros per share for a valuation of $12.6 billion for German plastics and chemicals maker Covestro. The latest offer would represent a premium of nearly 30% to Covestro's closing share price on Friday.ADNOC last raised its informal offer to 57 euros per share in July, although no final decision has yet been made.
ADNOC appears willing to go on an M&A spree: Abu Dhabi’s national oil company is separately in talks with Austria's OMV regarding a possible merger of the two companies that could form an entity worth $30 billion.
It’s not clear why ADNOC is interested in buying Covestro, considering how badly the petrochemical business has been doing lately. Earlier in August, Covestro reported a 21%Y/Y fall in second quarter revenues to 3.7 billion euros. Covestro is hardly alone, with U.S. oil and gas giants facing a similar fate. Sluggish consumer demand as well as a deluge of new factories coming online over the past few years means petrochemical margins face a protracted downturn. The situation is so dire that Cologne-based Lanxness AG has called it a “Lehman 2” moment for the chemicals industry.
“It’s been a pretty dramatic downturn. With chemicals oversupplied right now, large oil companies will find other areas to invest in,” Joseph Chang, a New York-based analyst at ICIS, has told Bloomberg.
Over the past decade, Big Oil has relied on petrochemicals as a growth engine, acting as a hedge when oil and gas prices drop and a long-term growth driver in the transition to clean energy. Previously, several Wall Street analysts predicted that oil demand will actually grow over the coming decades primarily driven by petrochemicals demand growth. Indeed, Energy Intelligence is not the only bull here. No less than 10 organizations, including OPEC, Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM), and the Energy Information Administration (EIA), have predicted that global oil demand will actually grow over the next few decades and not shrink as most analysts have forecast.
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.