MILAN, Italy (Jan. 24)—Eni Group S.p.A. hopes to complete negotiations on the sale of a controlling interest in its Polimeri Europa petrochemicals unit to Saudi Basic Industries Corp. by the end of March. Under a phased deal, Sabic initially is expected to acquire a 51-percent stake in Polimeri, according to a company spokeswoman. Eni recently transferred the main businesses of EniChem—olefins and aromatics, styrenics and elastomers—into Polimeri Europa. The restructuring added emulsion styrene-butadiene, butadiene and ethylene-propylene rubbers, among other polymer and petrochemical products, to the polyethylene unit's portfolio. Eni claims to be the European leader and world No. 2 in elastomer production with estimated sales in 2000 of about $700 million and annual production capacity of 524,000 metric tons. As well as E-SBR, BR and EP rubbers, the company also produces thermoplastic elastomers, nitrile and polychloroprene rubbers, and lattices.