Celanese Corp. recently completed a capacity expansion for ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) materials at the firm's plant in Edmonton, Alberta.
In a news release, officials with Dallas-based Celanese said that the "ultra-low capital project" will increase annual EVA production at the site by about 35 percent. The firm's EVA products are sold under the Ateva EVA and Ateva G Medical Grade brand names.
"The rapidly increasing demand for sustainable energy sources throughout the world, such as solar and wind power, continues to play an important role in global demand growth for EVA," Richard Jacobs, EVA senior director, said. He added that demand for EVA in solar applications is anticipated to grow at a double-digit compounded annual rate through 2028, making EVA "one of the fastest growing products" in Celanese's acetyl chain portfolio.
Celanese also recently released full-year financial results for 2022. Total sales grew 14 percent vs. 2021 to $9.7 billion, with profit essentially flat at $1.9 billion. Sales at Celanese's engineering materials unit — including the world's largest acetals business — were up 48 percent to $4 billion, with operating profit up more than 4 percent to $429 million. At Celanese's acetyls chain unit, sales for 2022 were down almost 3 percent to $5.7 billion, with operating profit down 23 percent to $1.4 billion.
For EM in 2022, officials said that organic volume growth in the automotive, electronics and medical end-markets as well as volume contributions from the Santoprene thermoplastic vulcanizate and acquisitions from DuPont Co. offset the impact of underlying demand softness and destocking in the second half of the year.
They added that EM pricing across 2022 "expanded significantly" as a result of broad commercial initiatives — including an energy surcharge — to mitigate nearly $600 million in raw material, energy, and supply chain cost inflation. An enhanced product mix for the unit also elevated pricing, partly from the medical implant business returning to pre-pandemic levels in the second half of the year.
The main business event for Celanese in 2022 was its $11 billion all-cash acquisition of a majority of DuPont's Mobility & Materials unit. That deal was completed in November. Businesses acquired in that transaction have annual sales of about $3.5 billion.
The deal includes a major nylon resin business, 29 global manufacturing sites and an intellectual property portfolio of about 850 patents. The business being acquired employs around 5,000 in manufacturing, technical and commercial roles. Brands and materials involved in the sale include Zytel nylon, Crastin polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), Rynite high-performance nylon and filaments and Vamac and Hytrel elastomers.
Looking ahead, Chairman and CEO Lori Ryerkerk said that Celanese's March order books "reflect improvement in many of the recent external challenges we have seen."
"We are confident that the back half of the first quarter will represent an inflection point," she added. "We expect an upward trajectory in our quarterly earnings across 2023 as a result of demand improvement, enhancements to our businesses and [DuPont] synergies."
On Wall Street, Celanese's per-share stock price began 2023 at $102.30 but was at $117.50 in early trading March 9 for an increase of almost 15 percent.