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Business News – November 2016

| By Mary Page Bailey

Plant Watch

Covestro doubles polycarbonate resin production capacity in Shanghai

October 12, 2016 — Covestro AG (Leverkusen, Germany; is doubling production capacities for polycarbonate resin from 200,000 to 400,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) by inaugurating two new production lines at its site in Shanghai, China. The new production lines are the last cornerstone of a multi-year investment program for the Shanghai site worth over €3 billion.

Ube Industries to increase nylon manufacturing capacity in Spain

October 12, 2016 — Ube Industries, Ltd. (Ube; Tokyo, Japan; will invest in additional nylon manufacturing capacity at its subsidiary, Ube Corporation Europe S.A.U., in Castellon, Spain. The expansion will add 40,000 m.t./yr, bringing the total capacity to 70,000 m.t./yr. The new capacity is expected to start operation in the beginning of February 2018. At the same location, Ube is also building a new compounding facility, which will start operation in August 2017.

Arkema to construct polyester- powder resin plant in India

October 11, 2016 — Arkema (Colombes, France; plans to construct a new polyester-powder resin manufacturing facility, said to be the first of its kind in India, at its existing resin site in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra. The project, which represents an investment of approximately $15 million, is targeted for completion in 2018.

Axens to license tehnologies for major refinery upgrades in Indonesia

October 11, 2016 — Axens (Rueill-Malmaison, France; signed several technology licensing agreements with PT Pertamina (Jakarta, Indonesia; for expansion projects at petroleum refineries in Balikpapan and Cilacap, Indonesia. In Balikpapan, Axens will supply technologies for a fluidized catalytic cracker, sulfur removal, propylene recovery and a middle-distillate hydrotreater. The Cilacap project consists of a grassroots distillate-hydrotreater unit.

Amec Foster Wheeler awarded Singapore Refining Co. contract

October 5, 2016 — Amec Foster Wheeler (London, U.K.; was awarded a contract by Singapore Refining Co. (SRC), a joint venture (JV) between Singapore Petroleum Co. and Chevron Corp., to upgrade SRC’s crude and vacuum heater efficiency, including burner revamps, air preheaters and a common new chimney stack at its site at Jurong Island.

Praxair starts up hydrogen plant at Repsol refinery in Peru

October 4, 2016 — Praxair, Inc. (Danbury, Conn.; started up a hydrogen plant at Repsol’s La Pampilla petroleum refinery in Callao, Peru. The new steam methane reformer (SMR) has a capacity of 12 million std ft 3 /d. A new Praxair facility adjacent to the hydrogen plant will recover and purify carbon dioxide generated by the SMR for the production of food-grade liquid CO 2.

Evonik breaks ground in Austria for membrane-module production plant

September 30, 2016 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; broke ground in Schörfling, Austria for an additional operations complex for producing gas-separation membrane modules. In addition to a new hollow-fiber spinning plant, the facility will include further spaces for research and development, application technology and a warehouse. The new plant, which will double the existing production capacity, is scheduled to open in late 2017.

Novamont opens commercial-scale facility for bio-based BDO

September 29, 2016 — Novamont S.p.A. (Novara, Italy; opened a commercial-scale facility in Bottrighe, Italy that will produce 30,000 m.t./yr of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from renewable sources. The plant uses technology from Genomatica (San Diego, Calif.; to convert sugars to BDO, and is expected to reach full production rates in 2017. Novamont invested approximately $110 million to build the plant.

Borealis announces feasibility study for new propane dehydrogenation plant

Borealis AG (Vienna, Austria; will study the feasibility of a new propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant to be located at the existing Borealis production site in Kallo, Belgium. The final investment decision is expected to be made in the third quarter of 2018, while the potential startup of the plant is scheduled for the second half of 2021. The new PDH plant would have a targeted production capacity of 740,000 m.t./yr.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Total sells specialty chemicals affiliate Atotech for $3.2 billion

October 11, 2016 — For the divestiture of its specialty chemicals affiliate, Atotech B.V., a global manufacturer of high-tech plating solutions, Total S.A. (Paris; has accepted an offer from The Carlyle Group ( In the framework of this transaction, Total will receive $3.2 billion.

BASF and Avantium form JV for renewable FDCA and PEF

October 11, 2016 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; and Avantium (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; formed a new JV, called Synvina, for the production and marketing of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) produced from renewable resources and polyethylenefuranoate (PEF) based on renewable FDCA. Synvina plans to build a 50,000-m.t./yr reference plant at BASF’s Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium.

Rockwell Automation acquires Maverick Technologies

October 3, 2016 — Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee, Wis.; acquired systems integrator Maverick Technologies (Columbia, Ill.) to expand domain knowledge and help deliver control and information solutions to customers in the chemical, food-and- beverage, and oil-and-gas industries. The acquisition strengthens Rockwell Automation’s expertise in key process and batch applications.

Air Products’ Versum Materials becomes independent company

October 3, 2016 — The former Electronic Materials business of Air Products (Lehigh Valley, Pa.; is now a separate and independent public company: Versum Materials, Inc. Versum, a leading semiconductor industry supplier, will continue expanding its Tempe, Ariz. headquarters in the coming months and focus on meeting the needs of the semiconductor and other electronics-related industries.

Emerson to acquire corrosion monitoring specialist Permasense

October 3, 2016 — Emerson (St. Louis, Mo.; announced it has agreed to acquire U.K.-based Permasense Ltd., a leading provider of non-intrusive corrosion-monitoring technologies. Permasense monitoring systems use sensors, wireless data delivery and analytics to continuously monitor for metal loss from corrosion or erosion in pipes, pipelines or vessels.

Lanxess to acquire Chemtura for €2.4 billion

September 26, 2016 — Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; plans to acquire Chemtura Corp. (Philadelphia, Pa.,, one of the major global providers of flame-retardant and lubricant additives. The transaction, which has an enterprise value of approximately €2.4 billion, is expected to close around mid-2017. Chemtura is slated to join Lanxess’ Advanced Industrial Intermediates business unit.

Solvay to divest OLED portfolio to Nissan Chemical Industries

September 21, 2016 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; has reached a final agreement with Nissan Chemical Industries Ltd. to divest most of its OLED (organic lighting-emitting diode) patent portfolio. The sale follows a strategic analysis showing that new display technologies are being delayed. As a consequence, Solvay has decided to stop its research activities in this area. ■

Mary Page Bailey