GE Plastics, Dow Chemical Co. and Bayer Inc. - the three primary producers of polycarbonate in North America - have announced price increases for PC resins and blends. GE Plastics of Pittsfield, Mass., and Dow of Midland, Mich., said they are increasing PC resin prices by 12 cents per pound and blend prices by 8 cents a pound.
GE Plastics' increase was effectiveSept. 11. Dow's increase is to take effect Sept. 22.
Bayer of Pittsburgh announced it will increase prices for PC resins by 14 cents per pound and for its blends by 8 cents a pound, effective Oct. 1.
The moves represent an approximate 8 percent rise in PC resin prices.
The price hikes come on the heels of announcements from each of the companies that they will increase PC production capacities significantly in the coming 24 months. Bayer is debottlenecking its plants in Antwerp, Belgium; Verdingen, Germany; and Baytown, Texas, and has a facility under construction in Shanghai, China.
Those expansions will give Bayer significant, new capacity by the end of this year, Mark Witman, vice president for Bayer's Polycarbonate Business Group, said in a recent telephone interview. He declined to discuss specific production figures.
However, industry analysts said they expect Bayer to have capacity to produce 635 million pounds of PC a year by the end of December.
Further, Bayer is adding more production capacity at a plant in Shanghai. That plant is to begin operating in 1997, Witman said.
Bayer operated under a declaration of force majeure for PC from Feb. 1 until early August because of a series of produc-tion outages at its Baytown plant.
Meanwhile, Dow established a sales control program in May. Dow expects that program to end in December, when it brings new capacity into production.
GE Plastics also plans to expand its capacity, yet Bayer's Witman said he expects supplies to remain tight through 1999.
Combined, analysts said the capacity increases will boost PC capacity by 22 percent by 1997 to more than 2.2 billion pounds a year, from about 1.8 billion pounds of capacity that will be in place by the end of this year.
Witman said he expects that increasing demands for the polymer for such applications as architectural glazing, other construction products and com-puter disks will continue to put pressure on production capacities through the next four years.