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Business News – February 2020

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Enterprise Products starts up isobutane dehydrogenation plant

January 13, 2020 — Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (Houston; www.enterpriseproducts.com) announced that its isobutane dehydrogenation (iBDH) plant in Mont Belvieu, Tex. began operations. The plant will ultimately have the capability to process approximately 25,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of butane into nearly 1 billion lb/yr of isobutylene. The company is also constructing a propane dehydrogenation plant at the same complex and is on schedule for completion in the first half of 2023.


Eastman announces capacity expansion at Dresden plant

January 13, 2020 — Eastman Chemical Co. (Kingsport, Tenn.; www.eastman.com) announced a capacity expansion at its Dresden, Germany manufacturing plant to support a new coating and laminating line. The expansion will supplement Eastman’s assets in Martinsville, Virginia, and is expected to be online mid-2021.


Avantium to construct flagship FDCA plant in Delfzijl

January 9, 2020 — Avantium (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; www.avantium.com) has signed a letter of intent to locate its new flagship plant at Chemie Park Delfzijl, the Netherlands. The facility will produce 5,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of plant-based furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), which is a key building block for many chemicals and plastics. The plant is expected to reach completion in 2023.


Ineos Styrolution to build world-scale ABS plant in Ningbo

January 9, 2020 — Ineos Styrolution (Frankfurt am Main, Germany; www.ineos-styrolution.com) plans to build a world-scale acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plant in Ningbo, China. The new production site will be adjacent to the recently acquired polystyrene plant in Ningbo. With a planned capacity of 600,000 m.t./yr, the plant will begin construction in 2020, with completion expected in 2023.


Showa Denko expands high-purity gaseswith new facilities in Shanghai and Taiwan

January 8, 2020 — Showa Denko K.K. (SDK; Tokyo, Japan; www.sdk.co.jp) will establish new facilities to produce high-purity nitrous oxide (N 2 O) and high-purity octafluorocyclobutane (C 4 F 8) gases in Shanghai. The new facilities will be designed to produce 1,000 m.t./yr of high-purity N 2 O, as well as 600 m.t./yr of high-purity C 4 F 8. Operations are expected to begin in the second half of 2021. Additionally, SDK will establish a new facility to produce 150 m.t./yr of high-purity C 4 F 8 at its subsidiary in Taiwan. The startup of this plant is scheduled for the spring of 2020. The total investment for the new facilities in Shanghai and Taiwan is about¥3 billion (around $273 million).


KBR announces first commercial license for its new PDH technology

January 6, 2020 — KBR (Houston; www.kbr.com) has won the first commercial contract for its K-PRO propane dehydrogenation (PDH) technology, which the company first introduced in January 2019. This new technology will be utilized for a 600,000-m.t./yr PDH plant in Asia. The planned PDH unit is expected to start up in 2023.


Sumitomo completes construction of two catalyst manufacturing lines in Chiba

January 2, 2020 — Sumitomo Chemical Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; www.sumitomo-chem.co.jp) has completed construction of two catalyst manufacturing lines in Chiba, Japan, to meet the demand of companies licensing its polypropylene (PP) and propylene oxide (PO) manufacturing technology, including S-OIL Corp., PTT Global Chemical Public Co. and Bharat Petroleum Corp.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Hexcel to merge with Woodward

January 13, 2020 — Woodward, Inc. (Fort Collins, Colo.; www.woodward.com) and Hexcel Corp. (Stamford, Conn.; www.hexcel.com) announced a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger of equals. Upon completion of the merger, existing Woodward shareholders will own approximately 55% and existing Hexcel shareholders will own approximately 45% of the combined company, which will develop and manufacture advanced materials and control systems.


Victrex creates JV in China for new PEEK plant

January 13, 2020 — Victrex plc (Thornton Cleveleys, U.K.; www.victrex.com) created a joint venture (JV) with Yingkou Xingfu Chemical Co. to build and operate a new polyether ether ketone (PEEK) manufacturing facility in Liaoning, China. Victrex will hold a 75% interest in the JV. The new plant will be capable of producing up to 1,500 m.t./yr of PEEK. Commissioning of the facility is planned for early 2022, with Victrex’s share of the overall investment expected to total£32 million.


Entegris acquires CMP slurry manufacturer Sinmat

January 13, 2020 — Entegris, Inc. (Billerica, Mass.; www.entegris.com) has acquired Sinmat, a Florida-based specialist in the design and production of chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) slurries used for polishing ultra-hard surface materials, including silicon carbide and gallium nitride. Entegris acquired Sinmat for approximately $75 million.


Milliken & Company acquires additives specialist Borchers Group

January 13, 2020 — Milliken & Company (Spartanburg, S.C.; www.milliken.com) signed an agreement to acquire Borchers Group Ltd. (Westlake, Ohio; www.borchers.com), a global specialty-chemicals company that provides high-performance additives and specialty catalysts for the coatings, inks and adhesives markets, including a range of cobalt-free driers, dispersants, rheology modifiers, wetting agents, polymerization catalysts and adhesion promoters.


Borealis to acquire NOVA ownership interest in Novealis JV

January 9, 2020 — Borealis AG (Vienna, Austria; www.borealisgroup.com) and NOVA Chemicals Corp. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada; www.novachem.com) have reached an agreement for Borealis to buy NOVA Chemicals’ 50% ownership interest in Novealis Holdings LLC, the JV between affiliates of Borealis and NOVA Chemicals formed in 2018.


Ametek sells alloys business for $250 million

January 7, 2020 — Ametek Inc. (Berwyn, Pa.; www.ametek.com) announced that it has signed a definitive agreement for the sale of its Reading Alloys business to specialty materials company Kymera International. Reading Alloys has annual sales of approximately $160 million and is being sold in a transaction valued at $250 million. The company’s products include master alloys, thermal barrier coatings and titanium powders.


Cabot to acquire China-based carbon nanotube manufacturer

January 6, 2020 — Cabot Corp. (Boston, Mass.; www.cabot-corp.com) agreed to purchase Shenzhen Sanshun Nano New Materials, Ltd. (SUSN), a carbon nanotube (CNT) producer in China, for approximately $115 million. SUSN commissioned a new CNT plant in China in November 2018. The parties expect to close the transaction in the second quarter of 2020. SUSN is the second-largest producer of CNTs in the world.


Huntsman finalizes sale of intermediates and surfactants units

January 6, 2020 — Huntsman Corp. (The Woodlands, Tex.; www.huntsman.com) completed the sale of its chemical intermediates businesses and its surfactants businesses to Indorama Ventures Public Ltd. (IVL; Bangkok, Thailand; www.indoramaventures.com) in a transaction valued at approximately $2 billion.

Mary Page Bailey

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