June 26, 2014 / 10:37 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Solvay confident will seal INEOS venture by year end

* Assets sales demanded by European Commission

* Solvay to exit PVC business after three years of venture

* Disposals, market conditions force revision of deal terms (Updates with CFO on asset divestments)

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS, June 26 (Reuters) - Belgian chemicals group Solvay SA expressed confidence on Thursday that it could complete a PVC joint venture with INEOS by the end of the year, with a number of parties interested in buying assets the pair are bound to sell.

Solvay and privately held INEOS agreed in May 2013 to form a venture from which the Belgian group would eventually exit, but completion of the deal has been delayed by an EU investigation into its impact on competition.

The European Commission said last month that INEOS plants in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Britain would need to be sold for the deal to go ahead.

“We have good assets, a good business. We’ve had a lot of expressions of interest,” Solvay Chief Financial Officer Karim Hajjar told a conference call. “I have no crystal ball, there is no guarantee clearly, but we are very, very confident given the expressions of interest.”

Solvay also said it had revised the terms of its deal with INEOS, reflecting the required disposals as well as a tougher market environment. It said it would exit the business in three years, compared with a previous plan for between four and six years.

It will now receive an upfront payment of 175 million euros ($239 million), compared with an initially envisaged 250 million. And it would transfer liabilities of 250 million euros.

The Belgian company said it would exit the venture, set to be called INOVYN, and receive an additional amount based on average core profit over those three years. Solvay said the targeted amount was 250 million euros, with a minimum payment of 75 million.

Bank Degroof analyst Bernhard Hanssens said Solvay would receive a lower multiple than the 5.5 times enterprise value-to-EBITDA ratio announced a year ago, with some 120 million euros less cash than he had expected, or some 1.4 euros per share.

Solvay shares were down 0.3 percent at 1015 GMT, slightly weaker than a broadly flat STOXX Europe 600 chemicals index .

Solvay’s PVC exit fits with its plan to shift from lower-margin bulk plastics to speciality polymers and chemicals, such as for the oil and gas sector, and consumer chemicals for skin and hair care products.

Solvay said the transaction would result in a mainly non-cash impairment of 420 million euros, which would impact net income in the second quarter.

INOVYN will be headquartered in London and would have 2013 proforma sales of more than 3 billion euros, with 14 sites in eight countries. ($1 = 0.7335 Euros) (Editing by Mark Potter and David Holmes)

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