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christa.jpg (5628 bytes) Chemical Industry News Editor Christa Semko
Every two weeks, Christa will bring you the latest chemical industry news from around the world.  If you have a press release that you'd like to share with us, please mail it to us through our online contact form here.

Dateline: March 17, 2009

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North America

Job Cuts

PPG Industries Inc. will slash 2,500 jobs and close more facilities as part of a new cost-cutting effort designed to save an additional $140 million a year. The company plans to close a paint manufacturing operation in Saultain, France, as well as several smaller facilities across its operations. In addition, it plans to reduce staff across its operations.

Job Cuts

Eastman Chemical Co. will take a $30 million charge as it cuts up to 300 jobs and reduces salaries in an effort to trim costs and keep its dividend and lowered capital spending plans intact. The company’s U.S.-based employees will have their salaries lowered by 5 percent. In addition, the company will cut non-critical maintenance costs, logistics costs and discretionary purchases.

New Plant

A. Schulman Inc. has started up a new plastics resins plant in Akron, Ohio. The plant expands the company’s production capacity for its Polybatch high-performance additive business, which is aimed at the film and packaging markets. Initially, the plant will employ 20 workers. It features two new production lines, a research-and-development laboratory and pilot lines for three-layer blown and cast films for production evaluation and development programs with customers.  


Units Sold

BASF is selling off several units in order to win European Union anti-trust approval to buy Ciba Holding. BASF agreed last September to buy Ciba for $5.35 billion, a move that augments the company’s presence worldwide. To make the deal meet approval requirements, BASF will sell its chemical plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany and Ciba units making synthetic dry strength agents, a Finland-based business making glue for the paper industry, the “know-how” for making and selling another pigment and divest a unit making light stabilizers for plastics manufacturers.

Plants Closed

Officials in Yancheng city in China discovered last month that the water supply to the city’s 1.5 million residents had been polluted by phenol. As a result, they briefly cut the supply to hundreds of thousands of people. Environmental inspectors found that a chemical plant had been illegally discharging the compound into the city’s Xinyanggang River. As a result, 33 of the 317 chemical plants in the city will be shutdown.

Tech Center

ExxonMobil Chemical Co. has decided to build a technology center in Shanghai, China to provide product applications support for its growing business in the Chinese and Asian markets. The new technology center will be built and operated by ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Research & Development Company Limited, and will be located in the Shanghai Zizhu Science-based Industrial Park. Laboratories and product demonstration facilities at the center will provide applications technical service and a range of applications development capabilities. The center is expected to be operational in 2010.


New Plant

BASF is starting up a new plant for the insulation material Neopor in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The plant has a yearly production capacity of 90,000 metric tons and works with a new process based on extrusion. The extrusion process will yield more uniformly sized granules and will permit a targeted setting of the panel properties. The insulating capacity of Neopor is up to 20 percent better than that of Styropor, helping to contribute to energy efficiency and the reduction of CO2 emissions.


SSBR Plant

Dow Europe has started up a new Solution Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SSBR) plant in Schokopau, Germany. The new facility includes a capacity rights agreement with JSR Corporation. The new plant has a production capacity of 60 kilo-tons.

Methanol Plant Boilers

China Energy Recovery Inc. has completed an order to make a series of waste heat recovery boilers for Jiangsu Sopo Chemical Group. The waste heat recovery boilers are for Sopo Group’s new methanol production facility to support its main acetic acid manufacturing plant. The new plant has an annual production capacity of 600,000 tons.

Petrochemical Complex

LyondellBasell Industries has reaffirmed its ongoing participation in the development and construction of an integrated petrochemical complex and a Gas Separation Unit in the Atyrau region of Kazakhstan. The project is in partnership with SAT & Co. and KMGEP of Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries Ltd. The complex will include a world-scale ethane cracker, a propane dehydrogenation unit, a polypropylene plant and two polyethylene production facilities. The plants are scheduled to begin operations in 2014.

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