NEW YORK — Dow Chemical Co.'s massive restoration of the Buna Sow Leuna Olefinverbund GmbH chemical complex in Schkopau, Germany, is scheduled to be complete in 2000, allowing the company to manufacture plastic and chemical products valued at $2 billion.
``This is the Dow Marshall Plan,'' said Dow's Luciano Respini, comparing BSL to the American financial aid effort that allowed Europe to rebuild after World War II. ``We are reconstructing and transforming the cradle of the chemical industry in eastern Germany.''
Respini, president of Dow's Europe, Middle East and Africa division, spoke at a Dec. 11 news briefing in New York.
Seventy percent of the physical work at BSL is complete, according to Respini. Completion will be vital to Dow's global strategy. The Midland, Mich., company generates about one-third of its annual sales from Europe, a ratio that Respini said is the highest of any North American petrochemical maker.
Dow is receiving almost $7 billion from the German government to rebuild the site, which is part of the giant I.G. Farben complex, which was dismantled after World War II.
Dow owns 80 percent of the complex, with the German government owning the remaining 20 percent. BSL expects to employ 2,200 when it opens in May 2000.
Dow launched new polyethylene and polypropylene lines in Schkopau this year, each with a capacity of 500 million pounds annually.
In addition to PE and PP, BSL's product mix will include PET, polystyrene, rubber, aniline, hydrocarbons, chlorine, caustic soda and vinyl chloride monomer. The site will also include a plastics compounding and recycling facility.
But timing is more important than volume at BSL, he added.
``The emerging economies of the world become competitive advantages only if you time the entry right,'' he said. ``There's no value in building a refinery in Nigeria, even if there is a lot of oil there, if there are no consumers of the product.''