Westlake Chemical Corp. plans to add capacity for PVC resin and vinyl chloride monomer feedstock at plants in Louisiana and Germany.
Houston-based Westlake will add a total of 750 million pounds of annual PVC production and 200 million pounds for VCM with those moves, officials said in a Feb. 19 news release. Expansions in Geismar, La., and Burghausen, Germany, are scheduled to be completed in 2019. Work in Gendorf, Germany, is expected to be done in 2020 and 2021.
Officials said the German capacity expansions will be the first since it acquired materials firm Vinnolit in 2014. Specialty PVC will be expanded at Burghausen and suspension PVC will be expanded at Geismar, they added.
VCM production will be expanded at Geismar and Gendorf. Chlor-alkali production also will be expanded at Gendorf facility, adding about 55 million pounds of annual chlorine capacity and 60 million pounds of annual membrane caustic soda capacity.
The expansions “support our integrated vinyl products chain and demonstrate Westlake's commitment to provide our global customers with additional production to meet their growing needs,” President and CEO Albert Chao said in the release.
Westlake then followed the expansion announcement on Feb. 20 by reporting record results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2017. The firm rang up sales of $8.04 billion in 2017, up almost 60 percent vs. 2016. Westlake's annual profit also surged to more than $1.3 billion: more than triple its 2016 profit level.
For Westlake, 2017 was its first full year of operation after acquiring rival Axiall Corp. for $3.8 billion in June 2016. The firm is a major producer of polyethylene resin. PVC resin and compounds, as well as PVC products such as pipe, sidings, windows and fence.
On Wall Street, Westlake's per-share stock price was near $67 in mid-2017, but was around $105 in early trading Feb. 20 for an increase of more than 55 percent.