Jim Ratcliffe emerges as a surprise bidder for Shell's plastics business

A surprise bidder has emerged for the Basell plastics business of Shell, being sold for about €4bn (£2.1bn) - one of Britain's most successful industrial entrepreneurs Jim Ratcliffe. Ineos, the group controlled by Ratcliffe, is Europe's largest privately owned chemicals company. The final shortlist of bidders for Basell now includes Jim Ratcliffe, one of China's state-owned oil companies and a consortium of 2 US leveraged buyout groups, Blackstone and Apollo Management. Over the past 10 years, Ratcliffe has become a major force in Europe's chemicals industry, buying and selling assets from publicly quoted rivals such as BP and ICI. Basell would be Ratcliffe's biggest ever deal. Ineos acquired several of ICI's historic chemicals manufacturing sites in Teesside a few years ago..
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