TORONTO - Huntsman Chemical Corp. will expand its polypropylene product line to include high-impact copolymers by acquiring Novacor Chemical Inc.'s PP resin business. Huntsman announced May 16 that it signed a letter of intent to buy Novacor's 140 million-pound-per-year PP plant in Marysville, Mich., and expects to complete the deal by late June.
The Marysville facility specializes in injection molding PP grades for auto bumpers, consumer products and appliances. Novacor's vice president and general manager for polypropylene, Brian Turner, estimated sales of the Adpro resin business last year were $60 million.
Turner said in a telephone interview from Marysville that Novacor will sell the PP business because it is not large enough to be a leader in the PP market. The Marysville plant is the smallest PP production facility in North America. Huntsman has agreed to pay $44 million and working capital for the business, which employs about 120.
Huntsman President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald Rasband said the purchase fits Huntsman's strategy of expanding its PP business. The deal will boost its capacity to more than 1.2 billion pounds per year, making the Salt Lake City firm one of the world's five largest PP producers, the firm said.
Huntsman's Longview, Texas, PP plant, purchased from Eastman Chemical Co. in November, makes film and fiber resins, said spokesman Don Olsen. Its Woodbury, N.J., plant, acquired from Shell Chemical Co. in 1989, focuses on homopolymers. Huntsman is expanding and modernizing the Woodbury plant.
Olsen said the Novacor deal will round out Huntsman's offerings ``to include a full range of polypropylene products.''
Turner said the agreement with Huntsman includes Novacor's resin plant and technical center in Marysville and a Mitsui license for PP production technology. Novacor also will supply propylene and ethylene monomers to the Marysville plant from its petrochemical complex in Sarnia, Ontario.
Novacor bought the Marysville plant in 1989 from Detroit Plastic Molding. It named it Genesis Polymers Partnership while it looked unsuccessfully for a partner to buy into the business. In early 1994 it made the business part of Novacor Chemicals.