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Business News: November 2020

| By Mary Page Bailey

Plant Watch

Solvay inaugurates second bio-based solvent plant in Brazil

October 15, 2020 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; inaugurated its second manufacturing plant in Brazil for its bio-based solvent marketed under the name Augeo. Installed in the company’s industrial complex in Paulinia, the new plant raises Augeo production capacity from 6,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) up to 20,000 m.t./yr.


Air Liquide to invest €40 million to build ASU in Poland

October 13, 2020 — Air Liquide (Paris, France; will invest around €40 million in the construction of a new air-separation unit (ASU) at the Głogów, Poland site of KGHM Polska Miedz, one of the largest producers of copper and silver in the world. This new investment will add a capacity of more than 1,200 ton/d of oxygen to the Głogów site, which will bring Air Liquide’s total oxygen production capacity at this location to nearly 2,800 ton/d.


Wacker to expand VAE production in Nanjing

October 13, 2020 — Wacker Chemie AG (Munich, Germany; is investing around $100 million to add a reactor for vinyl-acetate-ethylene (VAE) copolymer dispersions and a spray dryer for VAE-based dispersible polymer powders at its site in Nanjing, China. The reactor and spray dryer are scheduled to come onstream in 2022. The two plants, when completed, will be the largest of their kind in the world.


BASF to increase production of synthetic ester base stocks in Jinshan, China

October 12, 2020 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; will almost double the production capacity for its synthetic ester base stocks at its site in Jinshan, China. The capacity expansion is expected to reach completion by the second half of 2022.


Tatneft to construct n-butane processing plant

October 12, 2020 — PJSC Tatneft (Almetyevsk, Russia; plans to construct a new processing unit for n-butane, which will have a production capacity of 50,000 m.t./yr. Located at the company’s Minnibayevo gas processing plant, the new unit is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.


Messer to build CO2 -recovery unit at Vertex Bioenergy site in France

October 8, 2020 — Messer Group GmbH (Bad Soden, Germany; will build and operate a second CO2-recovery unit at Vertex Bioenergy’s bioethanol production site in Lacq, France. Vertex Bioenergy will supply Messer with 130,000 m.t./yr of raw CO2 for the two recovery units. This new unit, which represents an investment of €11.3 million, is scheduled for startup in July 2022. It will allow Messer to double its CO2 production capacities from this site.


Covestro launches new polycarbonate films line in Thailand

October 8, 2020 — Covestro AG (Leverkusen, Germany; has launched a new production line for polycarbonate films in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Thailand. The total investment of over €100 million also includes an expansion of the associated infrastructure and logistics to shorten delivery times.


AkzoNobel to build new powder-coatings plant in Taiwan

October 5, 2020 — AkzoNobel (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; is building a new powder-coatings plant in Chungli, Taiwan. The new plant, which represents a €20-million investment, is expected to start operating in the third quarter of 2021.


OQ Chemicals completes capacity expansion for isononanoic acid

October 1, 2020 — OQ Chemicals (Monheim am Rhein, Germany; has completed an expansion project at its Oberhausen, Germany site, resulting in a 30% increase in its global production capacity for isononanoic acid. Isononanoic acid is a key ingredient in synthetic polyol-ester-based lubricants for the refrigeration industry.


Nippon Shokubai to construct new battery-electrolyte manufacturing plant

October 1, 2020 — Nippon Shokubai Ltd. (Osaka, Japan; plans to build an enhanced production plant for the electrolyte lithium bis(fluorosulfonyl) imide (LiFSI) for lithium-ion batteries. The company’s current production capacity for LiFSI is 300 m.t./yr, and the new facility will add around 2,000 m.t./yr of additional LiFSI capacity.


Siemens to build large CO2-free hydrogen plant in southern Germany

September 25, 2020 — Siemens AG (Munich, Germany; and WUN H2 GmbH plan to build one of the largest hydrogen production plants in Germany. The electrolysis plant from Siemens Energy will have the capacity to produce over 900 m.t./yr of hydrogen in its first phase. When fully expanded, it will be able to supply up to 2,000 m.t./yr of hydrogen. Commissioning of the plant is expected at the end of 2021.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Mitsubishi Chemical to sell its polymer-flocculant sales business

October 13, 2020 — Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; will transfer its polymer-flocculant sales business to Tokyo-based firms MT AquaPolymer, Inc. (MTAP) and Hymo Corp. The transfer to MTAP involves anionic, cationic and amphoteric flocculants and organic coagulants. The transfer to Hymo involves n-vinylformamide and polyvinylamine, as well as liquid polymers, defoaming agents and more.


Celanese completes Polyplastics sale

October 12, 2020 — Celanese Corp. (Dallas, Tex.; completed the sale of its 45% equity investment in the Polyplastics joint venture to Daicel Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; for $1.575 billion.


Vopak and Chandra Asri form infrastructure JV

October 6, 2020 — PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk (Jakarta, Indonesia; and Royal Vopak (Rotterdam, the Netherlands; intend to set up a joint venture (JV) for collaboration related to industrial-infrastructure business ventures in Cilegon, Indonesia.


LyondellBasell and Sasol form integrated polyethylene JV

October 2, 2020 — LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and Sasol Ltd. (Johannesburg, South Africa; agreed to form a 50/50 JV, through which LyondellBasell will acquire 50% of Sasol’s Lake Charles ethane cracker, low and linear-low-density polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure, for a total consideration of $2 billion. The JV will operate under the name Louisiana Integrated Polyethylene JV, LLC.


BASF closes divestiture of its Construction Chemicals business

October 1, 2020 — BASF closed the divestiture of its Construction Chemicals business to an affiliate of global private equity firm Lone Star. The purchase price is €3.17 billion. The former BASF Construction Chemicals business now forms the MBCC Group, headquartered in Mannheim, Germany.


Covestro to acquire DSM’s Resins & Functional Materials business

September 30, 2020 — Royal DSM N.V. (Geleen, the Netherlands; agreed to sell its Resins & Functional Materials and associated businesses (RFM) to Covestro for €1.6 billion. The transaction includes all of DSM’s RFM businesses, including DSM Niaga, DSM Additive Manufacturing and the coatings activities of DSM Advanced Solar.


Tokuyama and Formosa Plastics form IPA joint venture

September 28, 2020 — Tokuyama Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; will form a 50-50 JV in Taiwan with Formosa Plastics Corp. (Taipei, Taiwan; for selling high-purity isopropyl alcohol (IPA). Located in in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, the JV will be called Formosa Tokuyama Advanced Chemicals Co.