Yantai Seeks Stake in Permira-Owned BorsodChem

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – China’s Yantai Wanhua Polyurethane Co (600309.SS) is seeking to buy a stake in privately owned Hungarian chemicals firm BorsodChem as a long term strategic investor, business daily Napi Gazdasag said.

The paper said on Tuesday, without naming its sources, that top executives from the Chinese firm have held talks this year with executives from British private equity fund Permira, which bought BorsodChem in 2006.

BorsodChem Chairman-CEO Wolfgang Buchele was not immediately available for comment.

Last week Buchele told business weekly Figyelo that an unidentified investor had bought up most of BorsodChem’s mezzanine debt, junior debt with subordinated claims over the company’s assets.

The Chinese firm Yantai, capitalised at 26.9 billion yuan ($3.94 billion) on the Shanghai stock exchange, specialises in manufacturing Methylene Diphenyl DiIsocyanate, or MDI, according to its website. MDI is also one of BorsodChem’s key products.

BorsodChem is in talks with its creditors about a restructuring of its debts and said last month that its revenues would be 15-20 percent below 2008 levels this year but were expected to recover next year.

Buchele last month told daily Napi Gazdasag the company had debts of between 900 million and 1 billion euros, and expected to reach an agreement with banks on a debt settlement in August.

BorsodChem is one of the biggest employers in eastern Hungary.

(Reporting by Marton Dunai; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)