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Huntsman to Sell Division

The company will sell its European base-chemicals and polymers business for $700 million.
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(HUN) - Get Huntsman Corporation Report

signed an agreement to sell its European base-chemicals and polymers business to Saudi Arabian Basic Industries for $700 million, the company announced Thursday.

The transaction, which is expected to close at the end of this year, will reduce Huntsman's U.K. pension liabilities by about $126 million and allow the company to focus on other business aspects.

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"This is a major step in divesting our commodity businesses as we execute our previously announced strategy of realigning our portfolio to differentiated businesses and paying down debt," said Huntsman President and Chief Executive Peter Huntsman in a statement.

The Utah-based chemicals company plans to use the deal's proceeds to repurchase $250 million of 9.875% senior notes due 2009 and repay part of its secured bank debt.

Huntsman acquired the European business in 1999. Huntsman's shares rose 2 cents to $18.20.