For the second time this year, polypropylene leader Basell Holdings NV has announced the closing of a Canadian resin plant. This time, it's the firm's 440 million-pound-capacity site in Varennes, Quebec, which will shut down in April.
``Basell has been present in Varennes for 30 years, so this was not an easy decision,'' said Basell North America President Michael Mulrooney in an Oct. 12 news release. ``Although the initial slurry technology was replaced in Varennes in the late 1980s ... as a stand-alone site with small capacity, the operating costs are no longer competitive.''
The Varennes site employs 128, including 33 contract employees. The site will be decommissioned, but no final decision has been made regarding the property, Basell spokesman Mark Mendelson said. The plant was opened in 1976 by Hercules Inc., one of Basell's corporate predecessors.
Earlier this year, Elkton, Md.-based Basell North America - a unit of Basell Holdings NV of Hoofddorp, the Netherlands - announced plans to close a 385 million-pound-capacity PP plant in Sarnia, Ontario. The closures leave Basell with three North American production sites - in Bayport, Texas; Lake Charles, La.; and Altamíra, Mexico.
Although the Canadian plant closings are eliminating 825 million pounds of PP capacity, the opening of a new 770 million-pound-capacity plant in Altamíra and the restart of a 485 million-pound-capacity production line in Bayport will provide Basell with a net capacity gain of 430 million pounds by the end of 2008.
Basell ranks as the world's largest PP maker with more than 12.4 billion pounds of annual capacity, about 12 percent of the global market.
Based on estimated 2007 sales, the firm also holds down the top spot in North America, with an 18 percent market share.