Mexichem aims to lead Latin America in chemicals through further acquisitions, company officials say.
BY RONALD BUCHANAN
MEXICO CITY — Mexico City-based Mexichem, already Latin Americas leading producer of PVC, has a clear objective: "We aim to become the Latin American leader in production of chemicals and petrochemicals," says Enrique Ortega, the companys director of investor relations. And, he adds, a $1 billion war-chest for investment will fund the companys quest for that goal.
But first Mexichem has a hurdle to cross -- a plan to acquire a troubled petrochemicals plant of the Mexican state oil monopoly, Pemex, faces problems. Mexichem, then known as Camesa, began the road to growth when Antonio del Valle acquired the company as part payment for his stake in Banco Bital, one of Mexicos four leading banks, when it was taken over by Britains HSBC five years ago. Camesa sold off its specialist steel unit and Mexichem was born to develop what del Valle regarded as the companys main assets: the chlorine-vinyl production chain and the worlds biggest fluorite mine and its associated products.
With the proceeds from the sale of the steel unit, Mexichem bought out a 43 ...