Basell and Lyondell execs. explain merger

The top officers of Dutch chemical firm Basell Holdings and Houston’s Lyondell Chemical Co. began meeting in Houston this week to hash out details of their pending merger.
On Thursday, the CEO’s of both companies sat for an interview with the Houston Chronicle to explain why Basell’s $12 billion acquisition of Lyondell makes sense.
“This is not a merger driven by cost-saving synergies,” said Dan F. Smith, chairman and CEO of Lyondell.
“When all is said and done, there will be significant synergies. But I think they will be from the complementary nature, if you will, strengthening places where Lyondell was weak, strengthening places where Basell was weak on the other side, translating into higher profitability.”
Because the two companies complement each other so well — Lyondell with a strong presence in North America and facilities that make key components in Basell’s top products, Basell with a major European footprint and cash to grow — the executives said they don’t expect much impact on the companies’ current employees.
But Basell CEO Volker Trautz said much work still must to be done before the two firms know what the combined company will look like.
“Priority number one is to get to know each other,” he said, “and that’s what we’re doing at the moment.”
A full story, including more excerpts from the interview, will appear in the Chronicle’s business section Friday.