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Perstorp starts up plasticizer plant extension in Sweden; and more latest news

| By Mary Page Bailey

Plant Watch
Arkema to expand production of PEKK specialty polymer in the U.S. and France
March 9, 2015 — Arkema (Colombes, France; plans to double production capacity for poly-ether-ketone-ketone (PEKK) polymer in France in the first half of 2016. Furthermore, the company plans to build a PEKK-production plant on its Mobile, Ala. site, which would be scheduled for startup in the second half of 2018.

Perstorp starts up plasticizer plant extension in Sweden
March 5, 2015 — Perstorp Holding AB (Malmö, Sweden; has successfully started up a new plant that produces key raw materials for the general-purpose PVC plasticizers, valeraldehyde and 2-propylheptanol, and associated chemicals at the company’s site in Stenugsund, Sweden. With this investment, Perstorp has boosted the site’s capacity by 150,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr).

BASF expands its capacity for specialty amines in Ludwigshafen
March 4, 2015 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; is significantly expanding its production capacity for about 20 specialty amines at its site in Ludwigshafen. The expanded facilities are planned to go onstream gradually by early 2017. The specialty amines are used for the manufacture of coatings, lubricants, crop-protection products
and pharmaceuticals.

SNC-Lavalin awarded fluegas-treatment contract in Romania
March 3, 2015 — SNC-Lavalin (Montreal, Que., Canada; has been awarded a contract for a new gas-emissions treatment facility at a nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) fertilizer production plant in Târgu Mures, Romania. The facility will treat an estimated 183,000 Nm3/h of air from the NPK plant, which is expected to be fully operational in early 2016.

Wacker builds new production plant for specialty polymers
March 3, 2015 — Wacker Chemie AG (Munich, Germany; is building a new €8-million plant for specialty monomers with a production capacity of 3,800 m.t./yr at its Burghausen, Germany site. The plant is scheduled for startup in the second
quarter of 2015.

ABB to build manufacturing
site in TennesseeMarch 3, 2015 — ABB (Zurich, Switzerland; will invest $30 million in building a new manufacturing site near Memphis, Tenn. The new facility will assemble products from across ABB’s low-voltage products portfolio, including breakers, switches and modular enclosures.

AkzoNobel breaks ground on alkoxylation facility in Ningbo
March 2, 2015 — AkzoNobel (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; recently broke ground on a new alkoxylation facility at its site in Ningbo, China, bringing the company’s total investment in Ningbo to more than €400 million. This new facility will increase capacity by nearly 18,000 m.t./yr.

Solvay to build specialty polymers PEEK-production unit in U.S.
February 24, 2015 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; is building a new unit at its Augusta, Ga. site to expand its production capacity of polyether etherketone (PEEK). The new unit is expected to come onstream in mid-2016 and, combined with an expansion already underway in Panoli, India, will raise Solvay’s total PEEK-resin production capacity to more than 2,500 m.t./yr.

ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solution wins order for Hungarian nitric-acid plant
February 20, 2015 — ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions AG (Essen, Germany; has won a contract from fertilizer manufacturer Nitrogénmüvek Zrt for a nitric acid plant to be built at Pétfürdö, Hungary. The plant’s production capacity will be 1,150 m.t./d nitric acid, and completion is scheduled for 2017.

Yara and BASF to build ammonia plant in Freeport
February 19, 2015 — Yara International (Oslo, Norway; and BASF will build an ammonia plant at BASF’s site in Freeport, Tex., which will be owned 68% by Yara and 32% by BASF. The total capital investment for the plant, which will have a capacity of 750,000 m.t./yr, is estimated at $600 million.

Honeywell to provide control-systems support for Sasol coal-to-liquids plant
February 17, 2015 — Honeywell (Morristown, N.J.; will provide comprehensive services and support for the control systems of what is said to be the world’s largest coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant, Sasol’s synthetic fuels and chemicals complex in Secunda, South Africa.

Mergers & Acquisitions
Evonik to acquire Monarch Catalysts
March 11, 2015 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; has signed an agreement with India-based Monarch Catalyst Pvt. Ltd. to acquire 100% of the company’s shares. The transaction is expected to close during the first half of 2015.

Alcoa expands titanium, specialty offerings with RTI acquisition
March 10, 2015 — Alcoa Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.; has signed a definitive agreement to acquire RTI International Metals, Inc., a supplier of titanium and specialty-metal products and services for the aerospace, defense, energy and medical-device markets. The transaction has an enterprise value of $1.5 billion.

Data analytics company Wood Mackenzie acquired by Verisk
March 10, 2015 — Data analytics provider Verisk Analytics, Inc. (Jersey City, N.J.; has signed an agreement to acquire Wood Mackenzie (Edinburgh, Scotland;, an analytics provider for the chemical, energy and mining sectors, for around $2.8 billion.

Sonoco acquires majority stake in Brazilian packaging firm
March 9, 2015 — Sonoco Products Co. (Hartsville, S.C.;, announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in Graffo Paranaense de Embalagens S/A (Graffo), a flexible packaging business located in Pinhais, Curitiba, Brazil. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015.

Total acquires majority stake in plastics company Polyblend
March 5, 2015 — Total S.A. (Paris, France; has acquired a majority 68% interest in Polyblend GmbH (; Bad Sobernheim, Germany), which manufactures plastics for the automotive industry. The transaction is aligned with Total’s strategy to develop higher-value polymers.

Bayer MaterialScience acquires composite materials specialist
March 2, 2015 — Bayer MaterialScience AG (Leverkusen, Germany; concluded the  takeover of Thermoplast CompositeGmbH  (TCG; Langenfeld, Germany;, a producer of thermoplastic-fiber composites. Bayer MaterialScience plans to expand TCG’s production capacity in various locations, beginning in the Nuremberg metropolitan region.

Polypore business segments divested to Asahi Kasai and 3M
February 23, 2015 — Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; has entered into an agreement to acquire the Energy Storage business of Polypore International, Inc. (Charlotte, N.C.; for approximately $2.2 billion. In conjunction, Polypore also divested its Separations Media segment to 3M (St. Paul, Minn.; for around $1 billion.
Mann+Hummel takes full ownership of Microdyn-Nadir
February 17, 2015 — Microdyn-Nadir GmbH (Wiesbaden, Germany;, a membrane and module manufacturer, is now a 100% subsidiary of Mann+Hummel GmbH (Ludwigsburg, Germany; With this transaction, Mann+Hummel increases its Microdyn-Nadir stake from 50 to 100%.
Mary Page Bailey