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Business News – January 2019

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Neste moves forward with expansion of renewable products in Singapore


Neste Oil’s Singapore renewable refinery Picture: Ismo Henttonen.

December 12, 2018 — Neste Corp. (Espoo, Finland; www.neste.com) plans to add production capacity for renewable products at its existing facilities in Singapore. The approximately €1.4-billion investment will extend Neste’s renewable product capacity in Singapore by up to 1.3 million metric tons per year (m.t./yr), bringing the total renewable product capacity to nearly 4.5 million m.t./yr. The company’s target is to start up the new production line during the first half of 2022.


Ingevity starts up activated-carbon extrusion plant in Changshu

December 7, 2018 — Ingevity Corp. (North Charleston, S.C.; www.ingevity.com) has begun production at its new activated-carbon extrusion plant in Changshu, China. The new $20-million facility currently houses one new extrusion line. The company has also relocated the extrusion line from its Wujiang, China, facility to Changshu, and that line is expected to begin production by the second quarter of 2019.


Borealis announces European PP expansion plans

December 7, 2018 — Borealis AG (Vienna, Austria; www.borealisgroup.com) will expand the capacity of its polypropylene (PP) plant in Kallo, Belgium, by 80,000 m.t./yr. The added capacity is expected to come onstream in mid-2020. Borealis also approved the start of the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase for the expansion of its PP plant in Beringen, Belgium. This expansion is in the range of 250,000–300,000 m.t./yr, and is expected to start up in mid-2022.


Outotec to deliver technologies for battery-chemicals plant in Finland

December 6, 2018 — Outotec Oyj (Espoo, Finland; www.outotec.com) will deliver pressure-leaching and solvent-extraction technologies for a battery chemicals plant to be built in Sotkamo, Finland. The battery chemicals plant, expected to be ready for commissioning in 2020, will have the capacity to produce around 170,000 m.t./yr of nickel sulfate and around 7,400 m.t./yr of cobalt sulfate to be used for electric-vehicle batteries. As a byproduct, the plant will also produce around 115,000 m.t./yr of ammonium sulfate to be used as a fertilizer.

Evonik to increase sodium methylate production in Alabama

December 4, 2018 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; www.evonik.com) will undertake a significant capacity expansion at its sodium methylate facility located in Mobile, Ala. Upon completion, the Mobile plant will be capable of producing up to 90,000 m.t./yr of sodium methylate. Besides Mobile, Evonik also produces sodium methylate in Germany and Argentina.


Ashland completes expansion of hydroxyethylcellulose plant in Nanjing

December 4, 2018 — Ashland Inc. (Columbus, Ohio; www.ashland.com) completed a capacity expansion for hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) in Nanjing, China. This expansion increased the manufacturing capacity of the site by nearly 30%. Key markets for HEC include coatings, personal care, oil-and-gas, construction and pharmaceuticals.


Total and Corbion start up joint bioplastics plant in Thailand

December 3, 2018 — Total Corbion PLA, a 50/50 joint venture (JV) between Total S.A. (Paris, France; www.total.com) and Corbion (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; www.corbion.com), started up a 75,000-m.t./yr polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastics plant in Rayong, Thailand. The new facility will produce a broad range of PLA resins from renewable sugarcane, sourced locally in Thailand. With this new facility, the global production of PLA bioplastics will increase by almost 50%.


Hanwha Total Petrochemical invests in a new PP plant

December 3, 2018 — Hanwha Total Petrochemical (www.hanwha-total.com), a 50/50 JV between Total and Hanwha Group (Seoul, South Korea; www.hanwha.com), will invest nearly $500 million to further expand its Daesan integrated petrochemical complex in South Korea. The planned investment will increase PP capacity by 60%, to 1.1 million m.t./yr, by the end of 2020. The ethylene capacity will simultaneously increase by 10%, to 1.5 million m.t./yr.


Eastman completes construction of new isobutyric acid manufacturing facility

November 28, 2018 — Eastman Chemical Co. (Kingsport, Tenn.; www.eastman.com) has completed a new isobutyric acid manufacturing facility at its Kingsport site. The new facility, when added to Eastman’s Longview, Texas isobutyric acid plant, doubles Eastman’s production capacity. Isobutyric acid is used in a number of end-markets, including agriculture, food, fragrance and protective coatings.


New Thailand plant expands Dow’s polyol capacity

November 28, 2018 —The Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich.; www.dow.com) opened a new polyol plant for rigid polyurethane foam in Rayong, Thailand. The new polyol plant has a designed annual capacity of 79,000 m.t., and is located at the Asia Industrial Estate (AIE) site, which is home to six Dow manufacturing plants.


Oxiteno marks opening of new alkoxylation plant in Texas

November 19, 2018 —Oxiteno (São Paulo, Brazil; www.oxiteno.com) officially opened its first alkoxylation plant in Pasadena, Tex. This unit, planned to support mainly U.S. customers, has alkoxylation capacity of around 170,000 m.t./yr.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Pöyry to merge with Swedish engineering company ÅF AB

December 12, 2018 — ÅF AB (Stockholm, Sweden; www.afconsult.com) and Pöyry PLC (Helsinki, Finland; www.poyry.com) have signed an agreement to combine the two companies to form a leading engineering and consulting company. The offer price values Pöyry at €611 million. The combined company, to be headquartered in Stockholm, will operate under the united brand ÅF-Pöyry.


Perstorp to sell its caprolactone business to Ingevity

December 10, 2018 — Perstorp AB (Malmö, Sweden; www.perstorp.com) has agreed to sell Capa, its caprolactone business, including the production site in Warrington, U.K., to Ingevity for approximately €590 million. The business has annual revenues of approximately €150 million. Perstorp expects to close the transaction in the first quarter of 2019.


Sulzer, TechnipFMC and Futerro form bioplastics initiative

December 6, 2018 — Sulzer Ltd. (Winterthur, Switzerland; www.sulzer.com), TechnipFMC (Houston; www.technipfmc.com) and Futerro (Escanaffles, Belgium; www.futerro.com) have formed the PLAnet initiative, in equal partnership, to promote the production of sustainable plastics made from PLA. The strategic collaboration will support manufacturers interested in entering the bioplastics market by delivering integrated PLA technology packages.


Hexel acquires manufacturer of microwave-absorbing composites

December 3, 2018 — Hexcel Corp. (Stamford, Conn.; www.hexcel.com) has agreed to acquire Massachusetts-based ARC Technologies, Inc., a supplier of microwave-absorbing composite materials for military, aerospace and industrial applications, for $160 million. The transaction is expected to close in early 2019.


Kemira forms AKD wax joint venture in China

December 3, 2018 — Kemira Oyj (Helsinki, Finland; www.kemira.com) has formed a JV with Shandong Tiancheng Wanfeng Chemical Technology, a producer of alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) wax in China. The JV, named Kemira TC Wanfeng Chemicals Yanzhou, will mainly produce AKD wax and its key raw material, fatty acid chloride (FACl).


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