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January 9, 2013

SNF starts Chinese production of quaternized monomers

Gerald Ondrey

SNF Group (Andrézieux, France; has begun production of its first Chinese quaternized-monomer plant in Taixing. The plant has a monomer capacity of 15,000 metric tons (m.t.) per year and a quaternized-monomer capacity of 25,000 m.t./yr This new unit will feed two lines of cationic polyacrylamide of 15,000 m.t./yr each. One line will be devoted to industrial and municipal water-treatment markets and the other line will serve the paper industry.

The completion of this new facility is an important milestone allowing SNF to strengthen its cost competitiveness for the Asian water-treatment and paper industries. This new Chinese facility will complement existing European and American units to boost the global quaternized monomer capacity of SNF to 210,000 m.t./yr.

SNF has been expanding its worldwide polyacrylamide capacity by about 45% in the past three years and has reached a global capacity of 615,000 m.t./yr (in active content) at the end of 2012. In order to sustain double-digit growth, SNF will start in 2013 two new polyacrylamide production lines of 30,000 m.t./yr each, one in Taixing and one in Plaquemine, Louisiana. In including complementary investments in emulsion and liquid lines, SNF will have a global production capacity of about 700,000 m.t. at the end of 2013.

SNF is backward integrated into the biological production of the acrylamide monomer with a global capacity of 320,000 m.t. of acrylamide.

SNF has a global manufacturing footprint equally balanced between different geographies with four major flagship sites, in Riceboro and Plaquemine (U.S.), Andrézieux (France) and Taxing (China). SNF intends to open three new large manufacturing sites in the next two years, in Teesside (U.K.), Saratov (Russia) and Rudong (China). SNF is also building a new production site dedicated to mining reagents in Nanjing (China). In including satellite facilities producing emulsion and liquid, SNF has a global manufacturing footprint of 20 sites and will have 24 production sites within the next two years.

SNF is positioned on markets whose growth is driven by the scarcity of key resources: water, oil & gas, and minerals. These three markets account for about 80% of SNF sales, the complement being broken down between paper industry and specialty applications such as textile, home and personal care, or agriculture.

Oil is a fast growing market, as SNF has a dominant position in enhanced oil recovery using polymer flooding technology. SNF is also one of the main providers of drag reduction agents used in the hydraulic fracturing process for shale gas and shale oil extraction. In the mining industry SNF is offering, through its Flomin business unit, a full chemical package including mining reagents.

Although the polyacrylamide market has become very competitive, SNF has been able to grow by increasing its competitiveness, says the company. SNF is an independent and private company which has always reinvested all its operational cash flow into the expansion of its production capacity with a view to anticipate market growth and to reduce production costs.



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