November 10, 2016 / 6:17 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Braskem CEO watching if Trump presidency affects Mexican plant

(Recasts with executive’s comments on Mexico)

By Alberto Alerigi and Brad Haynes

SAO PAULO, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Braskem SA , the largest petrochemical producer in Latin America, is watching to see if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s protectionist campaign talk affects its huge new plant in Mexico, Chief Executive Officer Fernando Musa said on Thursday.

Braskem and Mexican partner Idesa invested $5.2 billion in the Etileno XXI complex that started up in June to turn ethane gas into ethylene and polyethylene per year.

“We need to wait and see how electoral rhetoric translates into governing reality,” Musa said on an earnings call, adding that the plant will remain focused on exports, with opportunities in the United States, South America and Europe.

“In general, we expect the Mexican economy, and our ability to sell products in other regions if we cannot in the United States, will guarantee the competitive and profitable sale of Mexican production, regardless of trade barriers,” he said.

Earlier Thursday, Braskem posted third-quarter net income of 818 million reais ($253 million), down 45 percent from a year earlier, as a currency swing hurt results.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), a gauge of operating profitability, fell 17 percent in Brazil to 2.206 billion reais. EBITDA that included foreign operations was steady at 3.015 billion reais.

Musa said Brazilian clients in some segments were restocking after a deep recession, adding to concrete signs of recovering domestic demand.

Asked about expectations that Brazil’s state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA would sell its 36 percent stake in Braskem, Musa said there was still some uncertainty about the process, without elaborating. ($1 = 3.24 reais) (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr. and Brad Haynes; Editing by Jason Neely and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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