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Consolidating and Integrating

Sep 1, 2001

With the Brazilian government's divestment from a major petrochemical group, the industry is on its way to reaching global standards of efficiency.

After two failed auctions in eight months, Brazil's Central Bank finally sold its stake in South America's largest chemicals group in July to two Brazilian engineering and chemical groups, Odebrecht and Mariani, for $541.9 million. The sale of Petroquímica do Nordeste, known as Copene, clears the way for a much-needed restructuring of Brazil's petrochemical sector. Copene can now unshackle itself from the myriad shareholders that controlled its business, consolidate its assets and pursue aggressive growth.

"We think it is a historical transaction [because] it reshapes the petrochemical industry in Brazil creating the largest petrochemical group in Latin America, allowing it to become a player on a worldwide scale," says Carlos Guimarães, head of investment banking for Latin America at Salomon Smith Barney, which advised Odebrecht Group on the acquisition.

The shareholder structure of...

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