Two Facets Of Crisis Management | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: December 23, 2008

Two Facets Of Crisis Management

Lanxess pulls back investment plans as AkzoNobel makes an opportune acquisition
Department: Business

Hard on the heels of its decision to take an extended end-of-year break at 23 of its 45 facilities in Germany, Lanxess has further decided to delay some new projects. "We have decided to put off some investment projects given the decline in demand for chemical products we are seeing throughout the world," says Chairman Axel C. Heitmann.

Specifically, Lanxess will defer construction of a new butyl rubber plant in Singapore. Ground breaking was originally planned for January 2009, but that will now be postponed until the fall of 2009, with completion expected in 2012.

Additionally, Lanxess is postponing plans for capacity expansions in Leverkusen, Germany, and Antwerp, Belgium, and for moving its headquarters from Leverkusen to Cologne, Germany. On the other hand, even in this tough economy, Dutch chemical company AkzoNobel has found an opportunity to strengthen its European portfolio. AkzoNobel has made what it calls "an irrevocable bid" to acquire German-based LII Europe for an undisclosed sum. LII Europe, the chlor-alkali business of the former firm Hoechst, filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 13, 2008.

LII Europe operates a multiclient chlorine operation in the Hoechst Industrial Park near Frankfurt. In addition to its main chlor-alkali activities, it produces chlorinated hydrocarbons, calcium chloride, and solid caustic soda at the site.

"When interesting investment opportunities arise, we will always consider them, and this deal represents a good strategic fit with our own chemical activities," says Rob Frohn, the AkzoNobel board member responsible for specialty chemicals. The acquisition, he adds, will offer AkzoNobel "operational synergies with our other two industrial chemical plants in Germany."

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