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Nov 25 (Reuters) - Brenntag SE said on Friday it held preliminary discussions with U.S. rival Univar Solutions Inc regarding a potential acquisition, as German chemicals distributor seeks to expand its footprint in the United States.
The move comes after Brenntag's top boss earlier this month said the company is eyeing the North American market with more interest and plans to double annual spending in mergers and acquisitions.
Chief Executive Officer Christian Kohlpaintner had said back then that the North American market was "more robust than a lot of people think" and could have a competitive advantage over the energy crisis-stricken European market, without giving specifics.
In a statement on Friday, Brenntag said that the discussions were ongoing and that it was not foreseeable whether there will be any kind of transaction.
Brenntag earlier said in a statement it plans to double its annual spending for mergers and acquisitions to 400 million to 500 million euros ($401 million to $502 million) as part of a strategic growth plan.
Surging gas prices have severely hit German chemical producers this year. A plunge in Russian gas exports after Russia's invasion of Ukraine has sparked a continent-wide energy crisis, leading to soaring energy prices. (Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Jose Joseph; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)