LyondellBasell struggling with debt and global slump

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Debt

LyondellBasell, the world’s third largest petrochemicals firm and a major supplier to the drug industry, is close to bankruptcy according to widespread media reports as it struggles under the weight of a $26bn (€19.4) debt and a slump in demand for its products.

The company, which supplies a wide variety of products to the pharmaceutical sector ranging from excipients to process solvents, told its banks Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS that it needs $2bn while it tries to manage its debt, according to a report in London’s Evening Standard​.

Concerns about Lyondell emerged last month in a report by Standard & Poor’s analyst Tobias Mock. He suggested that the firm’s debt restructuring operations are likely to involve substantial losses for some creditors and that it is “tantamount to a default​.”

In response the company said that: “Standard & Poor’s definition of ‘selected default’ related to our corporate credit rating should not be misinterpreted to suggest that LyondellBasell is currently in default of its back agreements… LyondellBasell is not currently in default according to its agreements with its lenders​.”

in-PharmaTechnologist was unable to make contact with LyondellBasell’s US-based spokesperson ahead of publication for further clarification.

Nevertheless it does seem clear that LyondellBasell is experiencing difficulties of late. The most recent evidence for this came last month with its decision to suspend operations at its ethylene and propylene plant in Chocolate Bayou, Texas after a drop off in demand.

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