Solvay SA is set to become the first Western PVC producer to establish a foothold in the Russian PVC market, with plans for a joint venture compounding company near Moscow.
Brussels, Belgium-based Solvay is forming a venture called Solmir with Vladimir, Russia-based Vladimir Chemical Plant, a private compounder. The venture will be based at the Russian firm's site, 111 miles east of Moscow.
Solmir will produce rigid PVC compounds for window profiles and siding, according to Solvay. The partners may add production of soft PVC compounds for the Russian automotive sector.
The venture, with capacity of 33 million pounds per year, will employ about 50 and is to start operating at the beginning of 2002. Solvay said the venture fits perfectly with the development of the Russian market.
"The devaluation of the ruble in 1998 made import products unaffordable for Russian consumers and prompted the quick emergence of many local processors," Solvay said in a news release.
VCP, which employs 2,500, is a leading Russian producer of PVC compounds aimed largely at the cable-sheathing market. It also makes film, foam and specialty products.
Meanwhile, SolVin, a joint venture between Solvay and BASF AG, announced it is closing the BASF PVC and vinyl chloride monomer plant at Zandvliet, Belgium. The partners are consolidating regional vinyl capacity, according to Solvay. All 89 workers will retire or be transferred to other BASF or Solvay plants.
The Zandvliet plant had an annual capacity of 330 million pounds of suspension PVC and 375 million pounds of VCM. Other plants run by SolVin, including ones in Jemeppe, Belgium, and Rheinberg, Germany, already have increased their capacity to compensate for the shutdown.
The SolVin venture was set up in 1999. Solvay owns 75 percent of the company, while Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF owns 25 percent.