Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries has offered more than $12 billion in cash to acquire a majority stake in bankrupt international petrochemical group LyondellBasell Industries.

Both Reliance and LyondellBasell issued statements confirming a “preliminary non-binding offer” to acquire “a controlling interest” in the world’s third largest independent chemical maker. The two, however, did not put a value to the cash offered by Reliance.

Industry sources, however, said the bid was the biggest ever made by an Indian firm overseas. “The largest acquisition by an Indian firm was when Tata acquired Corus for about $12 billion. I can say for sure that Reliance has offered more than that,” an industry insider said.

“This offer (from Reliance) is in addition to the previous non-binding equity financing proposals received by the company and represents a potential alternative to the initial plan of reorganisation previously filed by the company,” LyondellBasell said in a statement.

A yet to be identified private equity fund had previously made an offer to acquire the petrochemical giant, which had in January this year filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under the U.S. law.

The Rotterdam-headquartered group, the world’s third-largest independent chemical company, has assets that could be worth as much as $6 billion and the successful bidder would be decided by the U.S. bankruptcy court. It may take a few months for the deal to conclude.

“The offer is preliminary and subject to customary conditions, including conduct of due diligence, documentation and receipt of sufficient creditor support,” Reliance said in a statement.

LyondellBasell is privately owned by ProChemie GmbH, a joint venture of Access Industries and ProChemie Holding Ltd.

It said its management will work with all parties “to design an approach that maximises value for the company’s creditors through the pursuit of a confirmable plan of reorganisation and enhances the financial strength of the reorganised company.”

“Reliance is reviewing a number of global opportunities for growth in its core business,” it said in a statement.

“This review is ongoing and there can be no assurance of the outcome with respect to any of the opportunities under review, including with respect to LyondellBasell, or that any approach made in connection with such opportunities will result in a transaction.”


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