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Celanese closing France, Spain plants

By: Richard Higgs
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

November 21, 2013

DALLAS — Diverse chemicals and speciality materials group Celanese is planning to close two European plants after failing to find "credible buyers" for the operations in France and Spain.

The Dallas-based company told employee representatives at its 200,000 tpa vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) plant in Tarragona, Spain and 34,000 tpa acetic anhydride facility in Roussillon, France that it means to start closure talks with the workforce at both units.

In May, Celanese said it had decided to sell the operations, which together employ 100, after reviewing its corporate strategy and assessing its current global manufacturing facilities. In the acetyl intermediates area specifically, the group wants to achieve economy of scale through focusing on integrated sites.

At that time, Celanese said it would take its time to find suitable industrial buyers to ensure the plants remained sustainable and retained their employees. To help find the right purchasers, it hired the French consultancy J H Lillian & Co of Paris.

"To date, no credible buyers have been identified and no offers for acquiring these facilities were made. Therefore, the company regretfully announces its intent to initiate discussions concerning the possible closure of both (plants) ... This action is initiated to safeguard the competitiveness of the Celanese acetyl business," the group said in a November statement.

Vinyl acetate monomer produced is a compound used to make the thermoplastic polymer polyvinyl acetate (PVA). The Spanish plant currently has a 70-strong workforce while Celanese employs 30 at the French facility.

The group employees around 7,600 employees worldwide and had 2012 net sales of US$6.4 billion (€4.75 billion).