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Styrolution shifting resin production

By: Frank Esposito

March 20, 2012

FRANKFURT, GERMANY (March 20, 3 p.m. ET) — Global polystyrene and styrene monomer leader Styrolution Group GmbH is making several changes to its global production, including no longer sourcing those materials from a plant in Marl, Germany, by the end of the year.

Styrolution’s decision will result in the plant’s PS and styrene units being shut down by the end of the year, according to a spokesman with Ineos Group, the British plastics and chemicals firm that co-owns Styrolution and operates the plant. The site’s annual PS capacity is almost 400 million pounds, while its styrene capacity stood at almost 800 million pounds.

All 110 workers at the PS/styrene units will be offered “alternative roles” with either Ineos or Styrolution, the spokesman said. Ineos will continue to make expanded PS in Marl as well as cumene feedstock. Its annual EPS capacity there is about 240 million pounds.***

Frankfurt-based Styrolution announced the Marl move in a March 19 news release, when it also confirmed capacity expansions in Korea and India and improvements to a German plant.

“To maintain and expand our leading market position, implementing our strategic priorities quickly and rigorously is key,” CEO Roberto Gualdoni said in the release. “I am convinced that these measures will increase our competitive strength...and allow us to serve our customers even better.”

In a statement, Ineos Styrenics CEP Gerd Franken added that “a review of business strategy by Styrolution has made it clear that the relatively small scale PS and [styrene] assets at Marl put the two units at a disadvantage in today’s market.”

In Ulsan, South Korea, Styrolution will open a new line with almost 90 million pounds of annual capacity for acrylic-styrene-acrylonitrile (ASA) by July. Officials said in the news release that the new line will offer customers greater security of supply and shorter lead times.

The Indian move will increase capacity for ABS and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) resins and related compounds by almost 70 million pounds in Vadodara by 2014. The project will meet increased demand for those products and lift the site’s overall annua; production capacity to more than 240 million pounds, officials said.

In Germany, Styrolution will equip its plant in Ludwigshafen with modern logistics and process control systems. Other improvements will increase the plants flexibility and supply reliability. Work done at the plant - which makes styrenic copolymers - is expected to be wrapped up in early 2013.

Styrolution was formed in October 2011 as a joint venture between Lyndhurst, England-based Ineos and chemicals giant BASF SE of Ludwigshafen. The firm has annual sales of about $8.3 billion and employs 3,400 at 17 sites worldwide.

At NPE2012 in Orlando, Fla., Styrolution USA LLC will exhibit in booth 13005.