Lanxess AG is adding a facility to produce engineering plastics in Wuxi.
The 162,000-square-foot plant will make Pocan-brand polybutylene terephthalate and Durethan-brand nylon 6/6. The Lanxess semi-crystalline products business unit is investing 20 million euros ($24.1 million) in the new plant. The first section will begin operating at the beginning of 2006.
The Wuxi site, 70 miles northwest of Shanghai, will produce about 44 million pounds of PBT and nylon annually.
The plant is being built at the site of a former Bayer AG facility. Lanxess was spun off from Bayer last year. The new operation is called Lanxess Wuxi Chemical Co., said Lanxess spokesman Hans-Joachim Vitz.
Lanxess Chairman Axel Heitmann said demand for Lanxess' high-tech plastics is growing 13 percent annually in China and 8 percent in Asia overall. Lanxess currently supplies the Asian market from a plant in Krefeld-Uerdingen, Germany.
The Leverkusen, Germany-based firm plans to expand the Wuxi plant if the Asian market continues to grow.
The new production site will target the automotive, electrical engineering and electronics industry. ``Our products will be used in the new Audi A6 model,'' produced at China FAW Group Corp. in Changchun, said spokeswoman Maggie Ma in Shanghai.
The plant will create as many as 100 jobs.
In related news, Lanxess Corp., a unit of Lanxess AG, is investing more than $1 million to improve computer systems at its styrenic resin plant in Addyston, Ohio, and is shuffling management there as well.
Pittsburgh-based Lanxess Corp. will install new computers in Addyston to upgrade its process control system by the first quarter of 2006.
In June, the facility completed an odor-reduction project for waste-water treatment. The combined cost of both projects is about $1.5 million, according to Lanxess spokeswoman Terri Fitzpatrick.
Lanxess produces ABS and styrene acrylonitrile in Addyston, which is about 15 miles outside of Cincinnati. The plant employs about 400 and is the firm's only remaining North American ABS plant. Bayer bought the business from Monsanto Co. in 1995 but later closed plants in La Salle, Quebec, and Muscatine, Iowa.
In the management ranks, Horst Klink has replaced Jay Richey as head of Lanxess' styrenics business unit in the North American Free Trade Agreement region. Klink, who has been with Lanxess and Bayer for more than 20 years, had been running the styrenics business in Europe and Latin America. Richey will provide support during the transition and is considering a new position at the firm, Fitzpatrick said.
Sandy Marshall is the new Addyston plant manager, replacing Bill Ward, who has left the company. Marshall has been with Lanxess and Bayer for 15 years, most recently as head of a technical rubber products plant in Sarnia, Ontario.
Lanxess employs about 2,100 in the United States, where it has annual sales of more than $1 billion. The U.S. market makes up about 16 percent of Lanxess AG's sales and 11 percent of its workforce.