Dow Chemical sees competitive disadvantage for European rivals -paper

FRANKFURT, June 2 Mon Jun 2, 2014 2:05pm EDT

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FRANKFURT, June 2 (Reuters) - Dow Chemical expects Europe's chemical industry to face a competitive disadvantage against U.S. rivals which pay far less for electricity and raw materials due to shale gas extraction, the group's chief executive said in an interview in German business daily Handelsblatt.

"Europe either must obtain cheap gas or pull out of certain markets and businesses," Dow Chemical's Chief Executive Andrew Liveris told the newspaper.

In the United States, electricity prices are falling thanks to gas derived from fracking - the hydraulic fracturing of rock.

On the contrary, in Europe's largest economy Germany companies like BASF and Lanxess pay some of the highest power prices in the world thanks in large part to the country's decision to phase out nuclear power and push into green energy.

The top U.S. chemicals maker also expects stronger competition from firms in Asia and the Middle East.

Liveris wants to expand production at lower-cost locations and invest more in research and development, the newspaper said.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, editing by David Evans)

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