The resin distribution unit of Ashland Distribution Co. has struck new deals with Equistar Chemicals LP and Rhodia SA to expand its reach in polyethylene and nylon.
Dublin, Ohio-based Ashland Distribution already had worked with Equistar, but the new arrangement allows Ashland to distribute Equistar's full line of PE resins to the wire and cable industry in North America.
For Rhodia, Ashland will distribute nylon resins in Europe. The two firms previously had not worked together.
``Wire and cable is a market focus for us, so working with Equistar fits into our overall strategy,'' Ashland plastics marketing director Michael Gilbert said June 26 at NPE in Chicago. ``And our European business is more weighted toward commodity resins, so we hope working with Rhodia will help us move more toward a balance.''
Gilbert added that although Ashland has considered adding Asian suppliers to its portfolio, it's not going to take that step without good reason.
``Our approach is not to say we have to buy from Asia just to jump on the global bandwagon,'' he said. ``It has to be something our customers want, and it has to be competitively priced and offer us a long-term arrangement.''
Ashland Distribution has continued to grow its business in North America as well. In the past 18 months, it has built warehouses in Fontana, Calif., and Anderson, S.C., and opened sales offices in Erie, Pa., and Kansas City, Kan. The firm now operates 24 warehouses and distributes for 27 resin makers and compounders. Industry estimates place its resin distribution sales at about $1 billion annually.