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UPDATE 1-GE targets sale of plastics unit in 3rd quarter
Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:51pm ET

CHICAGO, April 13 (Reuters) - General Electric Co.'s chief executive said the company aims to close the sale of its struggling plastics unit in the third quarter, a business analysts have valued as high as $10 billion.

"The plastics transaction is on track. Lots of interest in this business," Jeff Immelt said on Friday on a conference call with analysts.

"We expect a first round of bids soon," he added. "We really are targeting an announcement of a definitive agreement in the second quarter, close in the third quarter. I'm pretty optimistic about how this process is going and the outlook for our plastics business overall in terms of doing this disposition."

In January, after months of speculation, GE said it may put the plastics unit up for sale. The business, hurt by the high price of key raw material benzene, has been a weak spot for the conglomerate for the past year.

First-round bids are due early next week, sources familiar with the situation said.

Analysts have said the unit could fetch up to $10 billion, with potential buyers including private equity players or chemical companies such as BASF AG, Dow Chemical Co. and Saudi Arabia's Saudi Basic Industries Corp.

Source: Reuters

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