Huntsman Corp. of Salt Lake City recently announced a series of unrelated actions, including: The signing of a deal to purchase a U.S. maker of specialty monomers and crystal polystyrene.
The closing of an expandable PS facility in Rome, Ga.
The creation, through its Australian arm, of a joint venture to produce ABS resin and other engineering thermoplastics in Melbourne, Australia.
On Feb. 2 Huntsman said it signed a letter of intent to purchase privately held Deltech Corp. of Whippany, N.J., and its subsidiary, Deltech Polymers Corp. of Troy, Ohio, makers of specialty monomers and crystal PS. The deal is to include three production facilities at two sites: a specialty monomers facility and an idled styrene monomer plant at Baton Rouge, La.; and one for PS in Troy.
Deltech reported sales of $100 million in 1995. The companies did not reveal terms of the intended sale. Huntsman said it will double, to 200 million pounds a year, production of crystal PS at Deltech Polymer's Troy plant, which Huntsman owned from 1976-1982.
Huntsman also said that upon acquiring Deltech it will reopen and expand the styrene monomer facility. It can produce 600 million pounds of styrene monomer a year; Huntsman will increase that to 800 million.
Separately, Huntsman said Feb. 1 it will close the Georgia EPS manufacturing facility, and consolidate production at its Peru, Ill., plant. The Rome plant has annual EPS production capacity of 40 million pounds.
Huntsman said the closing will result in the layoff of 38 people.
Ronald A. Rasband, former president of Huntsman Chemical Corp., said in a prepared statement that federal government regulations directly prompted the closing, but did not identify which regulations he considered onerous.
Rasband said the company does not expect the closing to affect its customers.
Meanwhile, Huntsman Chemical Co. Australia Ltd. and Eura-tech Ltd., the Australian subsidiary of Malaysian industrial group Antah Holdings Bhd., have formed a A$20 million (US$15 million) joint venture to make ABS and other engineering thermoplastics at Huntsman's Dandenong, Australia, plant.
The new joint-venture company, Marplex Ltd., began operating Feb. 1 and will supply ABS to Euratech's Melbourne subsidiary, Dura Wills, which makes ABS pipes and fittings.
Marplex also will supply Antah's ABS pipe plants in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Melbourne-based Huntsman Chemical is managed and 50 percent owned by Huntsman Chemical Corp. of Salt Lake City.
Joe Foster, managing director of Huntsman's Australian operations, said Marplex will operate as a separate business activity from Huntsman's West Footscray, Australia, plant.
``We have been keen to develop our activities at Dandenong for some time, and this joint venture offers an ideal vehicle to make use of our expertise in the area of engineering thermoplastics,'' he said.
Hugh Forrest, Huntsman Chemical Co. Australia corporate affairs manager, said Euratech will be the controlling partner in Marplex. He said the initial investment of A$20 million by the two parties will be increased as production expands.
Antah Holdings has annual sales of US$400 million, with investments in more than 30 companies in 25 countries.
Tunku Imran, Antah Holdings' chief executive, said Marplex is important to the group's manufacturing requirements because it will ensure a constant source of quality materials for its piping systems. Forrest said Antah is a large customer of Huntsman, and that Marplex provides synergies for both groups. He said Marplex also will develop engineering thermoplastics for Australia's automotive industry.