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Business News – January 2017

| By Chemical Engineering

Plant Watch

Linde starts up CO 2 plant in Fort Worth

December 12, 2016 — Linde North America (Bridgewater, N.J.; started up a new carbon dioxide plant in Fort Worth, Tex. The plant, which has a production capacity of 250 metric tons (m.t.) per day, is supplying CO 2 for food-and-beverage producers and chemical manufacturers.


AkzoNobel and Atul to jointly build MCA plant in India

December 9, 2016 — AkzoNobel N.V. (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Atul Ltd. (Valsad, India; intend to jointly invest in setting up a production plant for monochloroacetic acid (MCA) at Atul’s facility in Gujarat, India. Each partner will hold a 50% stake. From an initial capacity of 32,000 m.t./yr at startup, the plant has been designed for future expansion to produce 60,000 m.t./yr of MCA.


Praj Industries to build multiple bioethanol plants across India

December 9, 2016 — Praj Industries Ltd. (Pune, India; has entered into an agreement with Indian Oil Corp. to set up three new second-generation (2G) bioethanol plants — one each at Panipat, Haryana and Dahej, Gujarat. These plants will each have capacity to produce 100,000 L/d of ethanol. Additionally, Bharat Petroleum Corp. has also selected Praj as technology partner for setting up a 100,000-L/d 2G bio-ethanol plant in Orissa.


Ineos Styrolution announces expansion plans in Mexico

December 6, 2016 — Ineos Styrolution, (Frankfurt am Main, Germany; plans to expand the company’s copolymer plant in Altamira, Mexico, which produces a variety of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) solutions. The 20,000-m.t. capacity expansion will grow Ineos Styrolution’s overall copolymer production capacity in Altamira to 180,000 m.t./yr. Startup is expected by the first quarter of 2018.


Showa Denko to construct plant for production of new high-purity solvents

December 6, 2016 — Showa Denko K.K. (Tokyo, Japan; will build a purification plant to produce new grades of high-purity solvents at its Tokuyama Plant in Shunan City, Japan. Construction of the new plant will be completed in May 2017, and commercial operations will commence in June 2017.

Sasol announces polypropylene capacity expansion in South Africa

November 28, 2016 — Sasol Ltd. (Johannesburg, South Africa; has completed its C3 Expansion Project, which enables the company to increase production capacity of polypropylene by 103,000 m.t./yr at its Secunda Chemicals Operations in South Africa. The project represents an investment of around $73 million.


BASF to implement stepwise capacity expansion for U.S. MDI production

November 16, 2016 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; began engineering for a stepwise capacity increase of its methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) production facilities at the company’s Verbund site in Geismar, La. Capacity will be increased incrementally from 300,000 to around 600,000 m.t./yr.


ExxonMobil to increase polyethylene production at Beaumont site

November 15, 2016 — Exxon Mobil Corp. (Spring, Tex.; plans to add a new production unit at its Beaumont, Tex. polyethylene plant that will increase capacity by 65% — approximately 650,000 m.t./yr. Significant contracts were awarded to Jacobs Engineering, Wood Group, Zachry Group and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for work on the Beaumont expansion project.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Umicore to acquire Eurotungstene from Eramet Group

December 12, 2016 — Umicore N.V. (Brussels, Belgium; has signed an agreement to acquire Eurotungstene from Eramet Group (Paris, France; Eurotungstene specializes in metal powders used in diamond tools and hard metal applications. Closing of this transaction is anticipated to occur in the first half of 2017.


Evonik acquires Huber’s silica business

December 9, 2016 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; has acquired the silica business of J.M. Huber Corp. (Edison, N.J.; for $630 million. For the 2016 financial year, Huber Silica was expected to achieve sales of close to $300 million. Huber’s silica business is especially oriented towards applications in the consumer goods sector.


Solvay to sell its cellulose acetate business

December 7, 2016 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; has reached an agreement to sell its cellulose acetate tow business, Acetow, to private equity funds managed by Blackstone. The transaction is based on an enterprise value of about €1 billion, and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2017.


Gurit acquires BASF’s PET business

December 1, 2016 — Gurit Holding AG (Wattwil, Switzerland; has acquired BASF’s PET (polyethylene terephthalate) structural foam businessfor an undisclosed purchase price. The transaction comprises BASF’s PET operations in Volpiano, Italy, including staff, operating assets and intellectual property.


Mexichem acquires U.K.-based PVC compounder

November 29, 2016 — Mexichem S.A.B. de C.V. (Tlalnepantla, Mexico; has acquired Vinyl Compounds Holdings Ltd. (VCHL; Chinley, U.K.), a manufacturer of technical polyvinyl chloride (PVC) compounds serving a broad range of industries. VCHL has annual revenues of approximately $40 million.


BASF to divest Inorganic Specialties business

November 28, 2016 — BASF will sell its Inorganic Specialties business to Edgewater Capital Partners of Cleveland, Ohio. Inorganic Specialties includes a production site in Evans City, Pa., and the Specialty Alcoholates, Boranes and Alkali Metals product lines, which are produced at the site. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017.


Honeywell launches new research chemicals business

November 28, 2016 — Honeywell (Morris Plains, N.J.; launched a new business, Honeywell Research Chemicals, which will include several brands of solvent and inorganic chemical products that were acquired from Sigma-Aldrich (St. Louis, Mo.; in December 2015. The Research Chemicals business is headquartered in Seelze,Germany.

Tesoro to acquire Western Refining in $4.1-billion deal

November 17, 2016 — Tesoro Corp. (San Antonio, Tex.; will acquire Western Refining, Inc. (El Paso, Tex.; in a transaction representing an equity value of $4.1 billion. The transaction adds Western’s petroleum refineries in Texas, New Mexico and Minnesota to Tesoro’s existing refineries, resulting in a refining capacity of over 1.1 million bbl/d.


Total and Corbion form bioplastics JV

November 16, 2016 — Total S.A. (Paris; and Corbion (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; are creating a 50-50 bioplastics joint venture to produce and market polylactic (PLA) polymers. The two partners plan to build a PLA polymerization plant with a capacity of 75,000 m.t./yr at Corbion’s site in Thailand. The JV will be based in the Netherlands and will launch operations in the first quarter of 2017. ■

Mary Page Bailey