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Business News: January 2022

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Air Liquide enters a longterm partnership for production of rare helium isotope

December 8, 2021 — Air Liquide S.A. (Paris; www.airliquide.com) entered into a longterm agreement with Laurentis Energy Partners to produce and distribute helium-3 (3He), a rare isotope of helium used in quantum computing, astrophysics, neutron detection, medical imaging and more. Laurentis Energy Partners will extract helium-3 as a byproduct of the energy produced by the Darlington power-generating station in Canada. Air Liquide will use advanced cryogenics technology to purify the isotope, then package and distribute it.

 

Sabic and OQ studying joint petrochemicals complex in Oman

Sabic (Jubail, Saudi Arabia; www.sabic.com) signed a memorandum of understanding with OQ (Musqat, Oman;  www.oq.com) to study a proposed petrochemical project in Duqm, Oman. The project involves a world-scale steam cracker and derivatives units producing ethylene and propylene.

 

Arkema announces oleochemicals capacity expansion in Singapore

December 6, 2021 — Arkema S.A. (Colombes, France; www.arkema.com) announced a 50% global capacity expansion for its Oleris oleochemicals, which includes C7, C11 and C18 materials, comprising n-heptanoic acid, n-heptaldehyde, undecylenic acid and Esterol A. This new production capacity will be part of Arkema’s previously announced biomaterials complex currently under construction on Jurong Island, Singapore. The new capacity is scheduled to come onstream in mid-2022.

 

Solvay to expand U.S. production of copper solvent-extraction products

December 2, 2021 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; www.solvay.com) plans to expand capacity at its Mount Pleasant, Tenn. facility in response to growing demand from mining operations for copper solvent-extraction (SX) products. Solvay expects the new capacity to be commissioned by the end of 2022.

 

PPG starts up coatings capacity expansion in Germany

December 1, 2021 — PPG (Pittsburgh, Pa.; www.ppg.com) announced the startup of expanded automotive coatings production at its facility in Erlenbach, Germany. The €3-million project nearly doubles the site’s capacity. PPG acquired the Erlenbach site in 2019. The expanded clearcoat facility enables flexible manufacturing of multiple batch sizes of up to 25 metric tons (m.t.).

 

Nouryon starts up organic peroxides site in Tianjin

December 1, 2021 — Nouryon (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; www.nouryon.com) started full-scale production at its new organic-peroxide production site in Tianjin, China. Products manufactured at the site include Trigonox and Perkadox organic peroxides, as well as Butanox methyl ethyl ketone peroxide.

 

Lanxess to build new engineering-plastics production line in Changzhou

November 29, 2021 — Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; www.lanxess.com) will build a second compounding line for engineering plastics at its manufacturing site in Changzhou, China. An investment of around €30 million will increase the capacity in Changzhou by 30,000 m.t./yr. Together with existing facilities in Changzhou and Wuxi, this will bring the company’s total compounding capacity in China to 110,000 m.t./yr. The new line is planned to go onstream in early 2023.

 

Styrolution to build advanced-recycling pilot plant for polystyrene

November 29, 2021 — Ineos Styrolution (Frankfurt am Main, Germany; www.ineos-styrolution.com) plans to construct a pilot plant for advanced recycling of polystyrene. The site will be set up in collaboration with Recycling Technologies in Swindon, U.K. It is expected to be operational in the second half of 2022. The Swindon pilot plant will be based on Recycling Technologies’ fluidized-bed reactor technology for polystyrene depolymerization.

 

BP to build large-scale green-hydrogen plant in the U.K.

November 29, 2021 — BP plc (London; www.bp.com) is planning a new, large-scale “green” hydrogen production facility in the northeastern region of the U.K. that could deliver up to 500-megawatt electrical input (MWe) of hydrogen production by 2030. To be developed in multiple stages, the HyGreen Teesside project is expected to start production by 2025, with an initial phase of 60 MWe of installed hydrogen production capacity.

 

Mergers & Acquisitions

Trinseo to acquire European plastics recycling firm Heathland B.V.

December 8, 2021 — Trinseo (Berwyn, Pa.; www.trinseo.com) agreed to acquire Heathland B.V., a plastic waste collector and recycler based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Heathland is focused on converting post-consumer-recycled (PCR) and post-industrial-recycled (PIR) polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polycarbonate (PC), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polystyrene (PS) and other thermoplastic waste.

 

Ascend to acquire compounding facility in Mexico

December 8, 2021 — Ascend Performance Materials, LLC (Houston; www.ascendmaterials.com) plans to purchase a compounding facility for engineered materials in San Jose Iturbide, Mexico, growing its global footprint and expanding production capacity. The purchase agreement includes the assets of DM Color Mexicana, a joint venture between Dainichiseika and Mitsubishi Corp. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022.

 

ExxonMobil acquires materials science specialist Materia

December 8, 2021 — Exxon Mobil Corp. (Irving, Tex.; www.exxonmobil.com) announced that its chemical company has acquired Materia, Inc. (Pasadena, Calif.; www.materia-inc.com). Materia developed technology for manufacturing a new class of materials that can be used in wind turbine blades, electric vehicle parts, sustainable construction materials, anticorrosive coatings and more. The acquisition includes Materia’s technology center in Pasadena and its manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Tex. ExxonMobil intends to operate Materia as a wholly owned affiliate.

 

Saint-Gobain to acquire GCP Applied Technologies

December 6, 2021 — Saint-Gobain S.A. (Courbevoie, France; www.saint-gobain.com) entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding shares of construction chemicals manufacturer GCP Applied Technologies, Inc. (Cambridge, Mass; www.gcpat.com) in a transaction valued at around $2.3 billion. The transaction is expected to close by year-end 2022.

 

Celanese completes Santoprene acquisition

December 2, 2021 — Celanese Corp. (Dallas, Tex.; www.celanese.com) completed the acquisition of the Santoprene TPV elastomers business of ExxonMobil. As part of the transaction, Celanese has acquired two world-scale production facilities in Pensacola, Fla. and Newport, Wales with over 190,000 m.t./yr of total production capacity.

 

Cabot to sell Purification Solutions business for $111 million

November 29, 2021 — Cabot Corp. (Boston, Ma.; www.cabotcorp.com) entered into an agreement to sell its Purification Solutions business to private equity firm One Equity Partners in a transaction valued at $111 million. Cabot’s Purification Solutions business is focused on activated carbon products used in a range of environmental, health, safety and industrial applications.

 

Westlake to acquire Hexion’s epoxy business for $1.2 billion

November 29, 2021 — Westlake Chemical Corp. (Houston; www.westlake.com) has entered into an agreement with Hexion Holdings Corp. (Columbus, Ohio; www.hexion.com) to acquire Hexion’s global epoxy business for approximately $1.2 billion. Based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Hexion’s epoxy business manufactures specialty resins, coatings and composites for a variety of industries. This transaction is anticipated to be completed in the first half of 2022. ■

Mary Page Bailey

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