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BASF invests in China

by Jean-François Tremblay
June 12, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 24

Last week was a busy one for BASF in China. In just a few days, BASF announced a new R&D facility, sold off an electrolyte plant, agreed to expand production at a joint venture, and opened a new personal care unit. At its Shanghai R&D facility, BASF will spend $39 million to build an automotive application center, primarily to study car coating processes. China, BASF notes, is the world’s largest car market in terms of units. The company is also selling a battery electrolyte plant in Suzhou to the Chinese firm Shenzhen Capchem Technology. The Suzhou plant became part of BASF when it acquired the U.S. electrolyte maker Novolyte Technologies in 2012. As far as batteries are concerned, BASF plans to focus on high-energy cathodes, where it has stronger competitive capabilities. Separately, BASF and Sinopec have agreed to expand capacity of their propionic acid facility in Nanjing by 75%, to 70,000 metric tons per year. Propionic acid is mostly used as a preservative for livestock feed grain. And in personal care, BASF opened a $20 million plant producing emollients and waxes in Shanghai’s Jinshan district. Using sustainably sourced palm oil as a feedstock, the plant produces materials used in products for skin, hair, baby, and oral care as well as deodorants.


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