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Reliance Industries Ltd has recently sweetened its offer to buy a controlling stake in bankrupt LyondellBasell Industries, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

Reliance's new offer has pushed its valuation of Lyondell to about $13.5 billion, up from $12 billion in an initial bid made in November, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Under terms of the proposal, Reliance would purchase about $2.25 billion in stock and support a separate $2.8 billion rights offering to take the company out of bankruptcy, the newspaper said.

A Lyondell spokesman declined to comment on its discussions with Reliance, saying it is bound by a confidentiality agreement.

"Our focus is at this point on having our disclosure statement approved by the court," Lyondell spokesman David Harpole said, noting its current reorganization plan which would have existing senior creditors take control of the company after its emergence from bankruptcy.

Lyondell's current deal with creditors led by investors Ares Management, Apollo Management and billionaire Len Blavatnik's Access Industries, does not prohibit the company from considering other "bona fide offers," Harpole said.

Representatives for Reliance were not immediately available.

Lyondell's official committee of unsecured creditors has said in court filings that it is encouraging the company to look at Reliance's earlier offer.

Lyondell is a U.S. unit of LyondellBasell, which filed for bankruptcy protection last January after being unable to meet its debt obligations when demand dropped for petrochemical products during the global economic downturn.

LyondellBasell, its Luxembourg-based holding company, was created in after a 2007 buyout led by Blavatnik through New York-based Access.

The case is In re: Lyondell Chemical Co, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-10023.

 

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