BP Solvay shifting HDPE capacity in '03
HOUSTON - BP Solvay Polyethylene North America will be going in two directions at once in the first half of 2003.
The Houston joint venture announced Nov. 21 that it will shut down 260 million pounds of older, less-efficient high density PE capacity in Deer Park, Texas, in the first half of 2003. That capacity will be replaced by BP Solvay's 50 percent share in a 700 million-pound-capacity plant set to open in late February in Baytown, Texas.
The closing will have ``minimal effect'' on employee levels at Deer Park, a BP Solvay spokesman said, and the new plant probably will open before the three older lines are shut down.
The new plant, the world's largest to use slurry-loop HDPE production technology, will be shared with Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP of Houston. Chevron Phillips is North America's largest HDPE maker, with an estimated 24 percent share of 2003 capacity. BP Solvay is fourth in the market with a share of almost 11 percent. The plant primarily will make general-purpose grades for the blow molding market. Each firm will continue to use its own HDPE catalysts and additive packages in separate product runs at the new facility.
The moves will leave BP Solvay with a net gain of 90 million pounds of HDPE capacity in a year when many market watchers are uncertain how HDPE demand will be affected by global economic factors. Through August, U.S./Canadian HDPE sales were up almost 7 percent compared with 2001, according to the American Plastics Council in Arlington, Va.
Solvay SA of Brussels, Belgium, and BP plc of London formed BP Solvay in late 2000. Solvay controls 51 percent of the partnership.
Victor Plastics owner, James Kubu, dies
BROOKLYN, IOWA - James Kubu, owner of Victor Plastics Inc., died Nov. 16 after a tree fell on him while he was working at his home.
Kubu, 59, was using a tractor to clear a tree at his Brooklyn home when the tree struck a second tree, which fell on him, according to a company spokesman.
He founded the Victor, Iowa-based company in 1981 and served as the firm's president and chief executive officer. Victor employs more than 600 at sites in Victor, North Liberty and Kalona, Iowa.
In a Nov. 17 news release, company officials described Kubu as ``a wonderful, multifaceted man who fully enjoyed life.'' Officials added that Victor Plastics ``will carry on his vision.''
The firm ranked 76th in Plastics News' 2002 ranking of North American injection molders, with annual sales of $79.7 million.
Wirthwein to open North Carolina facility
NEW BERN, N.C. - German custom injection molder Wirthwein AG said it will open an operation in New Bern, according to a published report.
Wirthwein will supply parts to an expanded BSH Home Appliances Corp. plant in New Bern, according to a story in the New Bern Sun Journal. The molding facility is to open next year.
Privately held Wirthwein has injection molding plants at its headquarters in Creglingen, Germany; Brandenburg and Nauen, Germany; and L¢dz, Poland. It molds for transportation, appliance, construction and other markets. Its Web site states it runs presses with clamping forces up to 2,700 tons and molds parts weighing less than 1 ounce up to 210 ounces.
The Sun Journal said local government is proposing incentives of about $450,000 for Wirthwein to locate there.
BSH is a subsidiary of Robert Bosch Corp.
Denham wins California Senate seat
SALINAS, CALIF. - Denham Plastics owner Jeff Denham has edged out his opponent in the race for a seat in the California state Senate.
Denham, a Republican, beat out Democrat Rusty Areias by less than 2,000 votes, or 1.3 percentage points. Areias conceded the race Nov. 21, according to the Visalia (Calif.) Times-Delta. Officials required several days to sort out results because of the closeness of the voting in California's 12th Senate District, which includes parts of Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Benito and Stanislaus counties.
Denham, 35, ran on a platform that emphasized his agricultural business and military background. Salinas-based Denham Plastics - along with two sister companies - repairs and recycles plastics produce containers for farmers in the Modesto, Calif., area.