RusVinyl, a joint venture between Russia’s biggest petrochemical group, Sibur, and Europe’s leading PVC plastic producer, SolVin, to which the EBRD today contributed the Rouble equivalent of one fifth of a EUR 750 million financing package, is the single largest EU-Russia cross-border industrial project outside the oil and gas sector.
The two companies are joining forces to build a EUR 1.25 billion Greenfield plant in Nizhny Novgorod region set to produce 330,000 tonnes of PVC a year and 235,000 tonnes of caustic soda in what is the first major investment by a foreign partner in Russia’s chemical industry since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The EBRD’s contribution is an 11-year loan for the rouble equivalent of EUR 150 million. Russia state savings bank, Sberbank, is matching this with a symmetrical loan in roubles while the export credit agencies of Belgium and France are providing insurance cover on an additional EUR 450 million in parallel loans from BNP Paribas, HSBC and ING Bank.
RusVinyl, where SolVin is contributing state of the art technology and Sibur - the plant’s feedstock, is key to narrowing Russia’s technological gap with western Europe in this industry, and that is why the EBRD is backing it, EBRD President Thomas Mirow has said at a loan signing ceremony on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.
It will help transfer know-how and other skills to Russia, but this deal also has implications which go far beyond the chemical industry because it shows how a joint venture can be negotiated on fair terms for both partners in Russia, an example whose success should encourage investors in all sectors of the economy, Mr. Mirow added.
What makes the RusVinyl plant possible is the Associated Petroleum Gas (APG) jutting out of oilfields in faraway Western Siberia. Sibur is Russia’s largest processor of APG and one of the by-products is the ethylene feedstock that the plant will use, representing the equivalent of 500,000 tonnes of APG a year that would otherwise have been flared.
Today’s transaction represents the second phase of the EBRD’s support for this landmark project after a EUR 52 million equity injection signed earlier this year in SolVin Holding Nederland BV.
The EBRD will in addition assume full project financing risk once the plant starts operating. It is due to be commissioned in 2013.
Direct ownership of RusVinyl is equally split between OAO Sibur Holding Company and SolVin Holding Nederland BV. A 20.8 percent stake in SolVin Holding is ear-marked for the EBRD. This is a wholly-owned offshoot of SolVin Gmbh & Co. The group is 75 percent owned by PVC pioneer Solvay SA and 25 percent by Germany’s BASF, the world’s largest chemical producer.
- Sibur, the largest petrochemical company in Russia, is 50 percent owned by Russian businessman Leonid V. Michelson – with Gazprombank holding a 50 percent stake. It processes around 20 million cubic metres of APG a year, nearly a third of the Russian oilfields' total output of APG, turning this into higher value-added products.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most widely used and versatile plastics, particularly in the construction and packaging industries. Russia is at present a net importer of PVC with imports mainly coming from Germany, China and Turkey.
- The RusVinyl plant, which will employ 500 people when operating, will be the first in Russia to deploy modern technology which will not only avoid using mercury in producing high quality PVC for the Russian market but will be also be about 25 percent more energy efficient.