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Chemtura to complete $40 million expansion

By: Robert Grace

October 21, 2013

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Chemtura Organometallics GmbH, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Chemtura Corp. (Hall 6/E24), said it expects to complete the final phase of a $40 million expansion in Germany by year’s end.

The move will greatly boost capacity to make its Axion-brand, single-site polymerization catalysts and related precursors. The materials are used in the manufacture of polyolefins and elastomers.

In an interview after a Chemtura press event at K 2013 on Oct. 16, Ulrich Stewen, the Swiss-based commercial and technology director for organometallics, said the project in Bergkamen, in west-central Germany, is nearing completion.

The expansion for the Axion aluminoxane oxane (MAO) activator is fully backwards integrated based on Chemtura’s on-site production of the trimethylaluminum (TMA) precursor, Stewen said. Noting that only Chemtura and Albemarle Corp. are active in this space, he declined to provide any information about production quantities.

Philadelphia-based Chemtura earlier this month sold its consumer products business, consisting of such products as household cleaners and pool chemicals, for $315 million to Kik Custom Products Inc. It said it may sell its agrochemicals business as well. These moves will allow Chemtura to focus on fire safety and flame retardants, specialty chemicals, and on other, less-cyclical sectors such as home-insulation products.

Separately, the recently spun-off Chemtura specialty additives business, now called Addivant, is expanding some production capacity and also is growing in China. Peter Smith, who was general manager of the business unit under Chemtura since 2009, is now Addivant’s president and CEO. SK Capital purchased the antioxidants and UV stabilizers business, which relaunched under its new name this past May 1.

Smith said at the K show that Addivant established its own applications center in Shanghai, after having separated from the Chemtura center in Nanjing, China, last month. He said the firm will be expanding production in China and opening a new customization center there, but declined to provide details.

Smith also said the company is doubling production capacity in Saudi Arabia and South Korea, and soon would be expanding output at its Morgantown, W. Va., site, but again did not offer further details.