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March 5, 2013

BASF and Markor plan to establish two JVs for BDO and polyTHF in China

Gerald Ondrey

BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; and Xinjiang Markor Chemical Industry Co. (Markor; ) plan to establish two joint ventures (JVs) for the production of butanediol (BDO) and polytetrahydrofuran (PolyTHF; chemical name: polytetramethylene ether glycol) in Korla, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Northwest China. The JV agreements have already been signed but are subject to further closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

The JV companies intend to build a plant for the production of BDO and one for PolyTHF, which are planned to go on stream in 2015. The capacities of the plants located in Korla will be 100,000 ton/yr of BDO and 50,000 ton/yr of PolyTHF.

“Based on our globally leading PolyTHF technology and the strong local presence of Markor in China, we are aiming to expand our local production capacity in order to support our customers in the Chinese market with high quality products,” says Guido Voit, senior vice president, responsible for the region Asia Pacific within BASF’s Intermediates division.

“We are glad to partner with BASF, who provides its state-of-the-art PolyTHF technology to the joint ventures. Thanks to our integrated value chain, we can achieve great synergies, enabling us to serve our customers better. We look forward to working with BASF to further expand our joint business in China,” says He Xiaorong, vice president of Markor Group.

PolyTHF is primarily used to make elastic spandex fibers for a large variety of textiles, including underwear, outerwear, sportswear and swimsuits. It also serves as a chemical building block for thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) used to make hoses, films and cable sheathing. Other applications include thermoplastic polyetheresters, polyetheramides and cast elastomers for the production of for example wheels for skateboards and inline skates. BDO is used in the manufacturing of technical plastics, polyurethanes, solvents, electronic chemicals and elastic fibres.

BASF produces PolyTHF with a capacity of 250,000 ton/yr at its sites in Geismar, Louisiana; Ludwigshafen, Germany; Ulsan, Korea and Shanghai, Caojing, China. BASF produces BDO with a capacity of 535,000 ton/yr at its sites in Geismar; Ludwigshafen; Caojing; Chiba, Japan and Kuantan, Malaysia.

Markor currently produces BDO with a capacity of 160,000 ton/yr and is the largest producer of BDO in China. To date, the company has invested RMB 5 billion (about €600 million) in Markor Chemical Park.



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