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Business News: September 2019

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Ineos breaks ground for Bayport ASA plant

August 12, 2019 — Ineos Styrolution GmbH (Frankfurt, Germany; www.ineos-styrolution.com) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for its new acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) plant in Bayport, Tex. The new site, which is designed for a production capacity of 100,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr), is expected to be operational by 2021.


McDermott awarded FEED contract for PetroLogistics’ new PDH plant

August 12, 2019 — McDermott International, Inc. (Houston; www.mcdermott.com) was awarded a contract by PetroLogistics ll, LLC (Houston; www.petrologistics.com) to perform the front-end engineering design (FEED) services for a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facility planned for the U.S. Gulf Coast. The plant has a design basis of 500,000 m.t./yr.


Tosoh to raise production capacity for chloroprene rubber

August 5, 2019 — Tosoh Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; www.tosoh.com) announced plans to increase production capacity for chloroprene rubber (CR) at the Nanyo Complex in Shunan City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. The investment in this expansion project is approximately¥5 billion ($47 million). Once debottlenecking and expansion are complete in October 2021, the site’s CR capacity will be 37,000 m.t./yr.


Linde starts up gas plant at Evonik’s methionine complex in Singapore

August 2, 2019 — Linde (Munich, Germany; www.linde.com) started up a new gas-production facility supplying methane, hydrogen and carbon dioxide to Evonik Industries AG’s (Essen, Germany; www.evonik.com) second world-scale methionine complex on Jurong Island in Singapore.


BASF to build tBA production plant in Nanjing

July 29, 2019 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com) plans to invest in a second production plant for tert-butylamine (tBA) at BASF Specialty Chemicals Co. in Nanjing, China. With this expansion, BASF’s global annual production capacity of tBA will increase by more than 30%. The plant is planned to start up in 2022.


ExxonMobil starts up new polyethylene line in Beaumont

July 24, 2019 — ExxonMobil Corp. (Irving, Tex.; www.exxonmobil.com) started production on a new high-performance polyethylene line at its Beaumont, Texas polyethylene plant. The expansion increases plant production capacity by 65%, bringing site capacity to nearly 1.7 million m.t./yr.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Saudi Aramco intends to acquire stake in Reliance Oil-to-Chemicals division

August 13, 2019 — Saudi Aramco (Dhahran; www.saudiaramco.com) and Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL; Mumbai; www.ril.com) have agreed to a non-binding letter of intent regarding Saudi Aramco’s proposed investment in RIL’s Oil-to-Chemicals (O2C) division, comprising the petroleum refining, petrochemicals and fuels marketing businesses of RIL. Saudi Aramco’s potential 20% stake is based upon an enterprise value of $75 billion for the O2C division. This would be one of the largest foreign investments ever made in India.


Lanxess to divest its chrome chemicals business

August 12, 2019 — Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; www.lanxess.com) is selling its Chrome Chemicals business to Brother Enterprises, a Chinese leather-chemicals producer. The transaction is still subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities. Lanxess expects to complete the planned transaction by the end of 2019. The Chrome Chemicals business belongs to the Lanxess Leather business unit and generates annual sales of around €100 million.


Indorama to acquire Huntsman’s integrated oxides and derivatives units

August 8, 2019 — Indorama Ventures Ltd. (IVL; Bangkok, Thailand; www.indoramaventures.com) has acquired the integrated oxides and derivatives businesses of Huntsman Corp. (The Woodlands, Tex.; www.huntsman.com). The purchase price is based on an enterprise value of around $2.1 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Indorama Ventures would acquire Huntsman’s manufacturing facilities located in Port Neches, Dayton and Chocolate Bayou, Tex.; Ankleshwar, India; and Botany, Australia.


KBR acquires isomerization technologies from RRT Global

August 8, 2019 — KBR, Inc. (Houston; www.kbr.com) has acquired isomerization technologies from RRT Global that will enable KBR to offer expanded octane and clean-fuel technology solutions. Since 2015, KBR, in alliance with RRT Global, has offered catalytic distillation technology for the isomerization of C5 and C6 n-paraffins to boost gasoline pool octane. Now, KBR has acquired the patented technology with intellectual property rights to offer isomerization technologies for C4 and C7 streams.


Air Products completes acquisition of GE gasification assets

August 6, 2019 — Air Products (Lehigh Valley, Pa.; www.airproducts.com) completed the acquisition of GE Power’s gasification business. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed. The gasification business acquired by Air Products includes GE’s share of its 50-50 joint venture (JV) with China Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Co., a subsidiary of China Energy Group.


Chemours acquires Southern Ionics Minerals

August 5, 2019 — The Chemours Co. (Wilmington, Del.; www.chemours.com) acquired Southern Ionics Minerals, LLC (SIM; Jacksonville, Fla.), a minerals exploration, mining and manufacturing company handling titanium and zirconium mineral sands. This acquisition nearly doubles Chemours’ internal ore-sourcing capacity. The acquisition includes a mineral-sands processing plant in Offerman, Ga. and an existing mine site in Charlton County, Ga..


Arkema to acquire photoinitiator specialist Lambson

July 30, 2019 — Arkema S.A. (Colombes, France; www.arkema.com) plans to acquire Lambson, a company specializing in photoinitiators for curing. U.K.-based Lambson reports sales of around €45 million.


Huntsman to acquire Sasol’s stake in maleic anhydride joint venture

July 29, 2019 — Huntsman signed a definitive agreement with Sasol Ltd. (Johannesburg, South Africa; www.sasol.co.za) to acquire Sasol’s 50% interest in the Sasol-Huntsman maleic anhydride JV. The JV owns a plant in Moers, Germany that has capacity to produce 230 million lb/yr of maleic anhydride. Huntsman will pay Sasol $92.5 million for the acquired stake.


Nouryon acquires China’s largest triethyl aluminum manufacturer

July 25, 2019 — Nouryon (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; www.nouryon.com) has acquired Zhejiang Friend Chemical Co. (Friend), the largest Chinese producer of triethyl aluminum (TEAL) — a metal alkyl used in the production of high-volume polymers, such as polypropylene and polyethylene.


Clariant to divest Masterbatches business

July 25, 2019 — Clariant AG (Muttenz, Switzerland; www.clariant.com) has decided to divest its entire Masterbatches business, including both standard and high-value Masterbatches. These divestments will be concluded by the end of 2020. Clariant also plans to divest its Pigments business, as well as its Healthcare Packaging segment.


BP and Bunge create bioethanol JV in Brazil

July 22, 2019 — Bunge Ltd. (White Plains, N.Y.; www.bunge.com) and BP plc (London; www.bp.com) will form a Brazil-based JV, called BP Bunge Bioenergia. The 50-50 JV will produce a mix of bio-based ethanol and sugar at 11 mills in Brazil with a combined processing capacity of 32 million m.t/yr, while also generating renewable electricity.

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