Distribution giant General Polymers has changed its polystyrene strategy, parting ways with PS market leader Nova Chemicals Corp. and linking up with BASF Corp.
In another distribution switch, Mount Olive, N.J.-based BASF has signed on with Entec Engineered Resins of Maitland, Fla., to distribute BASF's full line of engineering resins, including nylon.
The GP/Nova split was "a mutual agreement," according to Ron Hornack, Nova's vice president of styrenic polymer sales. Nova PS will continue to be available through PolyOne Distribution, GE Polymerland and Performance Polymers.
"We're very comfortable and confident with our remaining distributors," Hornack said.
For GP, the move is part of "a continuous plan for long-term growth," according to GP spokesman Jim Vitek.
"Nova is an excellent supplier, but BASF has a commitment to grow polystyrene in North America through distribution," Vitek said recently by telephone.
Hornack declined to specify how much of Pittsburgh-based Nova's total PS sales are done through distributors, but he said "there's no big push under way" for Nova to increase the amount of business it does through those channels.
Nova inherited the GP distribution arrangement when it bought the styrenics business of Huntsman Corp. in 1998.
Nova ranks first in North American PS capacity, while BASF holds the No. 3 spot in the market, trailing second-ranked Dow Chemical Co.
While adding Entec, BASF ended its distribution partnerships with Delta Polymers of Sterling Heights, Mich., and CC&P Engineering Polymers of Wilsonville, Ore. Customers that had been buying BASF engineering resins from Delta and CC&P now will be routed to other distributors, said BASF marketing services manager Diane Actman.
She estimates that about one-third of BASF's North American engineering resin sales are done through distribution.
Entec President David Der Hagopian said BASF has products Entec currently does not distribute, such as acrylic styrene acrylonitrile and polysulfone.
The addition of BASF brings Entec's total number of suppliers to 10. Entec posted sales of more than $100 million in 2000.
Officials with Delta and CC&P could not be reached for comment.