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Plant Watch: December 2019

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Wacker starts up new silicon-metal production plant in Norway

November 15, 2019 — Wacker Chemie AG’s (Munich, Germany; www.wacker.com) new silicon-metal production plant officially went on stream at the Holla site in Norway, following over two years of construction. The new furnace is one of the largest of its kind in the world and increases the Holla site’s total capacity by more than 40%. A total of around €100 million was invested in the new plant.


Teijin Aramid moves forward with capacity expansion

November 13, 2019 — Teijin Aramid B.V. (Arnhem, the Netherlands; www.teijinaramid.com) began a second round of activities to increase para-aramid fiber production, targeting more than 25% capacity increase in five years. After the first phase of expansion through de-bottlenecking, the company now moves into the major phase of investment, realizing the full increased capacity by 2022. The expansion projects will take place in two plants in Delfzijl and Emmen, the Netherlands. Delfzijl is the production site for monomers and polymers, and the Emmen plant is used for spinning.


McDermott wins AMS technology contract from Formosa Chemicals

November 8, 2019 — McDermott International, Inc. (Houston; www.mcdermott.com) has been awarded a technology contract by Formosa Chemicals Industries Ningbo Ltd. for an alpha-methylstyrene (AMS) recovery unit in Ningbo, China. This will utilize AMS technology jointly licensed by Versalis (San Donato Milanese, Italy; www.versalis.eni.com) and McDermott’s Lummus Technology to recover 10,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of AMS.


Avantium opens plant-based MEG demonstration plant

November 7, 2019 — Avantium (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; www.avantium.com) has inaugurated its plant-based monoethylene glycol (MEG) demonstration factory in Chemie Park in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. The demonstration plant has an industrially relevant capacity of 10 m.t./yr, and will also produce plant-based monopropylene glycol. Avantium says it is planning construction of a commercial plant aimed for startup in 2024.


Perstorp breaks ground in India to significantly boost Penta business

November 7, 2019 — Perstorp AB (Malmö, Sweden; www.perstorp.com) has unveiled plans to invest in the construction of a new pentaerythritol (Penta) production facility in Gujarat, India. Construction of the Gujarat plant started in October 2019, with commercial production planned to start in early 2022. The site is designed to produce 40,000 m.t./yr of Penta, which is used in coatings, lubricants and antioxidants.


Hexion to expand phenolic resin production capacity in Australia

November 6, 2019 — Hexion Inc. (Columbus, Ohio; www.hexion.com) plans to add phenolic resin capacity as the latest expansion of its adhesives and binders business at its Brimbank, Australia site. Construction of the new reactor and associated infrastructure is expected to begin in early 2020 and is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2021.


Showa Denko to begin commercial production of 1,3-butylene glycol

November 5, 2019 — Showa Denko K.K. (SDK; Tokyo; www.sdk.co.jp) has decided to commercialize 1,3-butylene glycol (1,3-BG), which is mainly used as raw material for cosmetics. SDK will finish installation of facilities to produce 1,3-BG in its Oita Complex in Japan by the end of 2019, and plans to start sale of the product in April 2020.


Linde starts up two air-separation units at Taixing Jinyan ethylene oxide facility

October 29, 2019 — Linde plc (Guildford, U.K.; www.linde.com) started up two plants to supply oxygen and nitrogen to Taixing Jinyan Chemical Technology Co. to support the production of ethylene oxide. The plants, with total combined production capacity of 29,000 Nm 3 /h, will also supply gases to other customers in the Taixing Economic Development Zone.


Umicore opens new facility in Korea for the production of fuel-cell catalysts

October 23, 2019 — Umicore N.V. (Brussels, Belgium; www.umicore.com) inaugurated its new production facility for fuel-cell catalysts in SongDo Incheon City (near Seoul), South Korea. The facility will support the growth of Hyundai Motors Group, as well as other automotive customers. The plant is expected to ramp up production in 2020 and also allows for further expansion.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Lanxess to sell organotin product line to PMC Group

November 13, 2019 — The European subsidiary of PMC Group N.A., Inc. (Mount Laurel, N.J.; www.pmc-group.com) will acquire the organotin specialties product line from the Organometallics business of Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; www.lanxess.com). The acquired business includes Lanxess’ global organotin catalyst, organotin specialties and intermediates product lines.

Firmenich acquires Evonik’s CO 2 -extraction business

November 6, 2019 — Firmenich (Geneva, Switzerland; www.firmenich.com) has acquired the CO 2 -extraction business of Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; www.evonik.com). This acquisition, which includes Evonik’s facility in Trostberg, Germany, significantly expands Firmenich’s capabilities in supercritical fluid extraction of natural botanical molecules for fragrance and flavor applications.

Saint-Gobain to divest its French expanded polystyrene business

November 5, 2019 — Saint-Gobain (Courbevoie, France; www.saint-gobain.com), through its French subsidiary Placoplatre, has reached an agreement with Hirsch Servo Group and BEWiSynbra Group to sell its expanded polystyrene (EPS) business in France. The French EPS business has six industrial sites with around 240 employees and generated sales of around €70 million in 2018.


Air Liquide acquires large industrial-gas business in Malaysia

November 5, 2019 — Air Liquide (Paris, France; www.airliquide.com) announced the acquisition of Southern Industrial Gases Sdn Bhd. (SIGSB), which is one of the key industrial-gas players in the Malaysian market. The company generates approximately €20 million in revenue annually and operates eight manufacturing and refilling facilities across Malaysia.


Altivia completes acquisition of Dow’s acetone-derivatives business

November 4, 2019 — Altivia Ketones & Additives, LLC (Houston, Tex.; www.altivia.com), an affiliate of Altivia Petrochemicals, announced that it acquired Dow’s Acetone Derivatives business and associated chemical manufacturing assets at Institute, W.Va., as well as the Institute Industrial Park. The Acetone Derivatives business manufactures ketones and carbinols, used primarily in the coatings, adhesives and pharmaceutical industries. It is the largest North American production facility of its kind.


Kraton to sell its Cariflex polyisoprene business to Daelim

October 30, 2019 — Kraton Corp. (Houston; www.kraton.com) has agreed to sell its Cariflex polyisoprene-latex business to Daelim Industrial Co. (Seoul, South Korea; www.daelim.co.kr) for a purchase price of $530 million. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.


Alpek to acquire Lotte PET plant in the U.K.

October 30, 2019 — Alpek S.A.B. de C.V. (San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico; www.alpek.com) announced that one of its subsidiaries has signed an agreement with Lotte Chemical Corp. (Seoul, South Korea; www.lottechem.com) to acquire a 100% stake in Lotte Chemical U.K. Ltd., which owns and operates a 350,000-m.t./yr polyethylene terephthalate (PET) facility in Wilton, U.K.

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