Styrolution Reveals Strategy | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: March 21, 2012

Styrolution Reveals Strategy

Restructuring: Styrenics company wants to focus on expansion, lowering costs
Department: Business
Keywords: styrenics, joint ventures, consolidation
Credit: Styrolution
Roberto Gualdoni, CEO of Styrolution
Credit: Styrolution

Only four months after its launch as a styrenic polymers joint venture between BASF and Ineos, Styrolution has unveiled a strategy to streamline European operations and expand in Asia.

A styrene and polystyrene plant in Marl, Germany, which Ineos operates for the venture, will cease production by the end of the year. The plant has an annual capacity of 350,000 metric tons of styrene and 180,000 metric tons of polystyrene. The company says that production costs at the facility are above the European industry average and that it is better off increasing output at other lower-cost facilities in the region.

Styrolution is upgrading process and logistics control systems at a plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany, that makes styrenic copolymers. The partnership expects to complete the improvements early next year.

The company is building a new line in Ulsan, South Korea, that will make acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylate resins, used in outdoor goods such as yard equipment and recreational vehicles. The new line will have a capacity of 40,000 metric tons per year and is due to start up in July.

The company is also expanding its capacity for acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) in India to 110,000 metric tons from 80,000 metric tons by 2014. The expansion was previously disclosed by the joint venture’s Indian affiliate, Ineos ABS (India). As part of the project, Styrolution is boosting capacity for styrene-acrylonitrile, a precursor to ABS, by 50,000 metric tons. In early 2011, Ineos ABS (India) completed a 20,000-metric-ton expansion of ABS capacity.

Styrolution, which had about $8.5 billion in sales in 2010, was formed last October as part of a wave of restructuring in the long-beleaguered styrenic polymers industry. CEO Roberto Gualdoni says the strategic moves are important steps for the young company. “I am convinced that these measures will increase our competitive strength and pave the way for further selective, value-oriented growth and long-term success,” he says.

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