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GE to Sell Plastics Unit in $11.6 Billion Deal

Riyadh-based chemical company buys unit that was put on sale in January.

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Riyadh-based Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world's largest chemical company by market value, will buy General Electric Co.'s plastics unit for roughly $11.6 billion, according to bloomberg.com.

The adcquisition is the largest ever in the Persian Gulf, and the price is above the $8 billion to $10 billion estimated by some investors.

Saudi Basic, known as Sabic, has doubled sales since 2002 because of the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based company's access to the world's largest oil reserves, used as raw material for plastics and petrochemicals. GE put its plastics unit up for sale in January after the soaring cost of crude cut into earnings.

GE Plastics, based in Pittsfield, MA, last year posted a $74 million profit on sales of $6.65 billion. Buying the division will give Sabic a foothold in polycarbonates. GE's proprietary Lexan plastic is used in roofs, lighting, walkways, windows, domes and signages.

GE Plastics was created in 1930 from experiments with plastic filaments for lightbulbs conducted by Edison in 1893.

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