Nova Chemicals and Ineos have signed a letter of intent to expand their existing European styrenics joint venture to include their North American styrene and solid polystyrene assets. The European venture, Nova Innovene, was launched in October 2005 and has annual sales of about $1.4 billion. Nova and Ineos say the expanded 50-50 venture would have sales of about $3.5 billion per year and be the number one producer of styrene and polystyrene in North America. More than half of the added North American sales would come from Nova, which is keeping its expandable polystyrene business. Nova carved out its troubled styrenics assets into a new business unit last summer in anticipation of a restructuring move. "We will continue to look for further consolidation opportunities," says Nova CEO Jeffrey M. Lipton. Last month, Dow Chemical stated its desire to find a partner for its polystyrene business.