COLOMBES, FRANCE (June 29, 9:50 a.m. ET) — Fluoropolymers leader Arkema SA will spend almost $90 million to increase capacity for that material by 50 percent at a French plant.
The investment will increase capacity for Kynar-brand PVDF fluoropolymer resin at Arkema's site in Pierre-Benite, France, by 2014, officials said in a June 28 news release. The project also will include installation of a new high-purity process and a new effluent treatment plant.
“This ambitious program will provide long-term visibility for fluorochemicals activity as a whole in France,” officials said.
Global fluoropolymer demand is growing at more than 7 percent per year. Common applications for Kynar include oil extraction, cable manufacturing, chemical engineering and semiconductor production. Officials listed drinking water-filtration, lithium ion batteries and photovoltaic panels as “emerging markets” for Kynar.
Colombes-based Arkema claims to be the world's largest fluoropolymers maker. In addition to Pierre-Benite, the firm has fluoropolymer production in Zaramillo, Spain; and Calvert City, Ky.; as well as at three sites in China. Arkema also makes fluoropolymer feedstocks at a plant in Saint-Auban, France.
News of the expansion caps off a busy first half of 2012 for Arkema. In April, Arkema sold its U.S.-based Tuffak-brand polycarbonate sheet business to Bayer MaterialScience LLC. Media reports also surfaced that Arkema was looking to sell its PVC stabilizer unit.
Arkema in February finalized a partnership to develop renewable specialty polymers with Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc., a technology firm based in Woodridge, Ill. Also in April, Arkema announced that it would be consolidating its U.S. acrylic sheet production from Kensington, Conn., to a plant in Louisville, Ky.
Arkema has annual sales of more than $7 billion and ranks as the world's largest maker of acrylic resin and sheet, which it sells under the Plexiglas and Altuglas trade names.