Dow PS plant staying closed until June 1
MIDLAND, MICH. - Poor business conditions in the polystyrene market have led Dow Chemical Co. of Midland to extend the shutdown of its PS plant in Joliet, Ill.
The plant was taken down May 1 for maintenance. That work was completed May 16, but Dow plans to keep the plant closed until June 1.
``Continued increases in the costs of raw materials for all polystyrene resin grades have exacerbated a business condition that simply is not supporting acceptable margins,'' North American PS product director Jeff Denton said in a May 15 news release.
The Joliet plant has annual capacity of 275 million pounds, representing more than 5 percent of Dow's global PS capacity.
According to several buyers, North American PS demand has remained soft in early 2006 after dropping 6 percent in 2005. PS makers were able to raise prices 10 cents per pound in the wake of the Gulf Coast hurricanes last fall, but since then have given back almost that entire amount.
PS makers are attempting to enforce increases of 6 cents per pound, but their efforts have met with mixed results, market sources said.
Lanxess mulls future of SAN business
LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - The future of styrene acrylonitrile and other styrenic resins might be up in the air at Lanxess AG.
Officials at the Leverkusen-based firm expect a sales rebound for 2006 in its North American SAN business, but at the same time are appointing a project team to explore internal and external options for those units, including a possible sale.
After a North American sales drop of 10 percent in 2005, SAN growth in 2006 is on track to be in the 2-3 percent range, according to North American sales and marketing group leader David Gingras.
In a recent phone interview, Gingras said sales of SAN into consumer products and housewares are improving. Lanxess recently sold its European and South American SAN businesses to BASF AG, but held on to the North American SAN unit, which makes material at a plant in Addyston, Ohio.
Lanxess officials said the firm ranks as North America's largest SAN maker, with a 50 percent share of a total market estimated at 100 million pounds.
SMS units jointly buy stake in India firm
BAD OEYNHAUSEN, GERMANY - Two extrusion subsidiaries of SMS GmbH have acquired a minority stake in extrusion equipment company Kabra Extrusionstechnik Ltd. of Mumbai, India.
Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik GmbH and its U.S. subsidiary American Maplan Corp. jointly bought a 14 percent interest in Kabra for undisclosed terms, effective May 15.
SMS structured the deal as a jointly held stake because Battenfeld and American Maplan can bring different technologies to the table, said Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik President and Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Studener.
``Kabra wanted both [companies] included,'' said Studener.
American Maplan has particular experience in vinyl siding, wood composites, fencing and decking, reflecting market trends in North America, Studener said in a telephone interview from Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik's head office in Bad Oeynhausen. Other technical twists available from McPherson, Kan.-based American Maplan include extruder preheating technology and techniques to address screw and barrel wear caused by tin-based stabilizers in PVC pipe production.
Nicholas sells N-K unit to management
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Nicholas Plastics Inc. has sold N-K Manufacturing Technologies LLC to the injection molding company's co-owners and management team.
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based N-K launched in 1995 as a venture by Nicholas Plastics of Allendale, Mich., and the Kassouni family to specialize in value-added injection molding processes such as multishot, insert molding, overmolding and in-mold decorating, producing parts for the auto and office furniture industries.
The Kassouni family now has taken full ownership of the business in a deal for an undisclosed amount announced May 15.
N-K operates 34 presses in Grand Rapids and also has a joint venture in Monterrey, Mexico.