Huntsman Corp. has doubled epoxy resin capacity at its plant in Monthey, Switzerland, and is planning a $50 million major expansion of a similar plant in McIntosh, Ala.
Huntsman — a specialty chemicals maker based in The Woodlands, Texas — completed the Swiss expansion earlier this year. Around the same time the firm also enhanced its ability to make purified epoxy resins in McIntosh, officials said in a Sept. 14 news release.
A new production line in McIntosh would focus on global production of “all types of multifunctional epoxy resins,” they added. A multimillion-dollar engineering study is being conducted in McIntosh focused on the project.
That expansion is expected to create 25 permanent jobs, along with hundreds of temporary construction jobs since the site will require modifications, said a Huntsman spokesman. Construction should begin in 2012, with the new line fully functioning by early 2015 at the latest, he said.
Demand for multifunctional epoxies to replace aluminum and other materials in aerospace and similar markets is driving the effort.
The investments will help the firm's customers address engineering challenges “to produce lighter, more efficient materials,” Advanced Materials Division President James Huntsman, in the release.
The spokesman did not disclose costs for the Swiss expansion, which did not result in new hires. Nor did he reveal capacity for either plant, but noted they are the firm's two largest epoxy production sites.
In the first half of 2011, Huntsman's sales grew more than 27 percent to $5.6 billion. It posted first-half profit of $191 million after losing $56 million in the same period last year.