Negotiations between Saudi petrochemicals firm Sabic and Clariant A.G. over the creation of a new stand-alone specialties business have come to a temporary halt, less than a year after the two companies unveiled plans for the joint venture.
News of the stalled joint venture came July 25, one day after Clariant's CEO Ernesto Occhiello resigned unexpectedly, citing personal reasons. He had served just 10 months on the job, taking the position after the Saudi company's September acquisition of a 24.99 percent stake in Clariant. Prior to that, he had served as Sabic's specialties executive vice president.
In separate statements, the two companies said the plan for the new JV had been shelved due to "current market conditions," to be picked up at a later stage with a different scope.
"Both parties are obliged to act in the best interest of their respective shareholders. If you cannot reach an agreement that satisfies both sides in the current market environment it's best to temporarily suspend the negotiations," Clariant Chairman Hariolf Kottmann said in written statement to Plastics News Europe.
Kottmann, Occhiello's predecessor for 10 years, was asked to assume his responsibilities in the interim as executive chairman until a successor is found.
"Clariant will continue to implement its strategy and intends to continue to profitably grow in the market by providing specialized products and solutions that meet global challenges with attractive prospects and above average growth potential," Kottmann said, following Occhiello's resignation. "This is safeguarded by a stable structure of shareholders who support our strategy."