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Plant Watch: Business News for Dec. 2018

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Synthomer opens expanded nitrile latex production facility in Malaysia

November 13, 2018 — Synthomer (London, U.K.; opened its expanded nitrile latex production facility in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia. This $63.5-million project added 90,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of capacity, and is the first of two planned expansion phases at the site using a new reactor technology. The second phase, adding a further 60,000 m.t./yr of nitrile latex capacity, is slated to come online in 2020.


Showa Denko completes expansion of nanoparticle TiO 2 plant

November 12, 2018 — Showa Denko KK (SDK; Tokyo; has completed a capacity expansion for nanoparticle titanium oxide (TiO 2) used in the production of multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs). At Showa Denko Ceramics’ plant in Toyama Prefecture, Japan, the new production line will increase capacity by 30%.


DuPont to build a new specialty materials manufacturing plant in East China

November 8, 2018 — DuPont (Wilmington, Del.; is investing more than $80 million to build a new manufacturing facility in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province, in East China. The new facility will produce compounded engineering plastics and adhesives for transportation, electronics and industrial and consumer products. The site is expected to become operational in 2020 with expansion through 2023.


Praxair to build a new liquid hydrogen plant in La Porte

November 7, 2018 — Praxair, Inc. (Danbury, Conn.; has commenced construction of its fifth liquid hydrogen plant in the U.S., located in La Porte, Tex. Praxair’s new plant, scheduled to start up in 2021, will produce over 30 ton/d of high-purity liquid hydrogen. It will be integrated with the recently constructed air separation plant in La Porte.


Nippon Shokubai to build a new acrylic acid plant in Indonesia

October 31, 2018 — Nippon Shokubai Co. (Osaka, Japan; plans to build a $200-million acrylic acid (AA) production unit with a capacity of 100,000 m.t./yr, which will bring the company’s total AA production up to 240,000 m.t./yr. The new AA plant will be located at an existing site in Cilegon, Indonesia. Mechanical completion of the new unit is slated for March 2021, with commercial operations expected to begin in November 2021.

Solvay to increase fluorelastomer production in China and Italy

October 29, 2018 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; is set to increase the company’s fluoroelastomer (FKM) production with the recent addition of a new FKM plant in Changshu, China, as well as the implementation of production expansions for specific FKM peroxide-curable and bisphenolic terpolymer grades at Solvay’s sites in Changshu and Spinetta Marengo, Italy. The combined production capacity will be expanded by 30% before the end of 2019.


Lanxess increases production volume of micronized iron-oxide red pigments

October 29, 2018 — Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; implemented targeted debottlenecking at its Krefeld-Uerdingen, Germany, site to increase the product availability of its Bayferrox and Colortherm micronized iron-oxide red pigments by more than 5,000 m.t./yr.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Standard Lithium signs JV term sheet with Lanxess

November 12, 2018 — Standard Lithium Ltd. (Vancouver, B.C.; has signed a term sheet with Lanxess for a planned joint venture (JV) in the commercial production of battery-grade lithium from brine extracted from the Smackover Formation in South Arkansas. Under the proposed terms of the JV, Lanxess would contribute lithium extraction rights and Standard Lithium would contribute the pilot plant being developed on the property, as well as its proprietary extraction processes.


DuPont sells Iowa-based cellulosic ethanol plant to Verbio

November 12, 2018 — DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Verbio North America Corp. (VNA), a subsidiary of German bioenergy producer Verbio Vereinigte BioEnergie AG, have reached terms for VNA to acquire DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. VNA intends to install facilities to produce renewable natural gas from corn stover and other cellulosic crop residues at the site.


Evonik acquires PeroxyChem for $625 million

November 8, 2018 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; plans to acquire PeroxyChem LLC (Philadelphia, Pa.; from One Equity Partners for $625 million. PeroxyChem is a manufacturer of hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid. The transaction is scheduled to be completed by mid-2019.


Orion Engineered Carbons acquires acetlyene carbon black business

November 6, 2018 — Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. (Luxembourg; acquired Société du Noir d’Acétylène de l’Aubette, SAS (SN2A), a manufacturer of acetylene carbon black, from LyondellBasell (Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and its French affiliate. SN2A is headquartered in Berre l’Etang, France. Acetylene carbon black is an ultra-pure material distinguished by its high electrical and thermal conductivity.


Neste and Clariant announce joint sustainability initiative

November 6, 2018 — Neste Corp. (Espoo, Finland; and Clariant (Muttenz, Switzerland; joined forces in developing new sustainable material solutions accessible to a variety of industries. In the first phase of the partnership, the companies will start replacing fossil-based ethylene and propylene used in Clariant’s hot-melt adhesives with monomers derived from renewable feedstock.


Air Products to acquireGE’s gasification business and technology

November 5, 2018 — Air Products (Lehigh Valley, Pa.; agreed to acquire GE’s gasification business, allowing Air Products to expand its syngas solutions portfolio and its presence in gasification projects worldwide. The gasification business being acquired by Air Products includes GE’s share of its 50/50 JV with China Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Co.


Arkema acquires adhesives manufacturer in Spain

November 1, 2018 — Arkema (Colombes, France; has acquired Afinitica, a Spanish company specializing in instant adhesives, also known as cyanoacrylates. This acquisition will enable Arkema’s Bostik brand to develop a solid position in adhesives used in markets with strong growth potential, including electronics and medical equipment.


Lonza sells its Water Care business for $630 million

November 1, 2018 — Lonza Group (Basel, Switzerland; announced that Platinum Equity will acquire Lonza’s Water Care business for $630 million. Based in Alpharetta, Ga., Water Care has six manufacturing facilities in key regions, including North America, South America and South Africa. The agreement is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.


Jacobs to sell Energy, Chemicals and Resources business to WorleyParsons

October 21, 2018 — Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (Dallas, Tex.; agreed to sell its Energy, Chemicals and Resources (ECR) segment to WorleyParsons Ltd. (North Syndey, Australia; for $3.3 billion. Following the completion of the transaction, Jacobs will be focused solely on two lines of business: Aerospace, Technology, Environmental & Nuclear (ATEN); and Buildings, Infrastructure & Advanced Facilities (BIAF).


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