Mexican businessman Isaac Saba and Koch Industries of Wichita, Kan., have been linked in a rumored deal to acquire Trevira, Hoechst AG's polyester unit.
Saba owns 32 percent of Grupo Celanese SA, a Mexican polyester business in which Trevira holds a 51 percent share.
Koch Industries, a major oil and chemicals company that produces the PET feedstock paraxylene, may join Saba in a Trevira bid that could top the $3 billion mark, according to a Jan. 16 story in the Wall Street Journal.
Trevira representatives in New York said Saba and Koch officials have met with Hoechst management in Germany on other business matters, but Trevira declined to say if the acquisition has been discussed.
In September, Hoechst announced its intentions to sell all or part of its industrial chemicals businesses, including Trevira, by 2000. Hoechst officials said the firm wanted to focus on less-cyclical areas such as pharmaceutical and agricultural products.
Trevira is North America's second-largest PET maker, with about 1.4 billion pounds of capacity at plants in Spartanburg, N.C.; Kingston, Ontario; and Queretaro, Mexico. Trevira ranks third in the European PET market.
Globally, Trevira holds the top spot in industrial filament polyester fiber and is No. 3 in both staple and textile polyester filament production. The company posted sales of $4 billion in 1996.
Saba was Mexico's 10th-richest man in 1997 with an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine. His family has extensive real estate holdings in Mexico, including the Hyatt Regency hotel in Acapulco.
Officials at J.P. Morgan & Co. of New York, a firm identified as Saba's investment adviser in the deal, could not be reached for comment. Attempts to reach Saba through Grupo Celanese were unsuccessful.
Koch officials also could not be reached for comment. Koch, which supplies Trevira with chemical intermediates, is the second-largest private business in the United States, with annual sales of $25.2 billion in 1996, according to Forbes.
When Hoechst announced its intentions in September, industry analysts said Koch would have an interest.