Your Business In Brief - December 2007

PolyOne to Buy GLSSpecialty compounder PolyOne Corp., Cleveland, announced a major expansion of its TPE business with the signing last month of a definitive agreement to acquire GLS Corp., McHenry, Ill.

PolyOne to Buy GLS

Specialty compounder PolyOne Corp., Cleveland, announced a major expansion of its TPE business with the signing last month of a definitive agreement to acquire GLS Corp., McHenry, Ill. GLS is a well-known producer of several families of TPEs. For more information visit PolyOne Corp's PT Online Showroom.


Bayer Sells Hennecke

A surprise announcement at last month’s K 2007 show in Dusseldorf was the sale of its Hennecke Group subsidiary by Bayer AG in Germany. Hennecke (U.S. office in Pittsburgh) is a major name in polyurethane machinery. The buyer is an investment firm, Adcuram Group of Vienna, Austria, and Munich, Germany, which also bought the Battenfeld injection molding machinery business last year. Bayer follows other PUR raw-materials suppliers, BASF and Dow Chemical, which divested their PUR machinery businesses years ago. For more information visit Bayer AG's PT Online Showroom.


Basell Moves, Will Be Renamed

Basell North America moved last month from Elkton, Md., back to Wilmington, Md., which was its former headquarters location. A special meeting of shareholders was scheduled for Nov. 20 to vote on the proposed acquisition of Lyondell Chemical Co., Houston. Following the merger, the intended name of the company will be LyondellBasell Industries. For more information visit Basell North America's PT Online Showroom.


More Moves into Biopolymers

More resin makers are joining the action in biopolymers made from renewable resources.

  • Teijin Ltd. of Japan has bought half of NatureWorks LLC, Minnetonka, Minn., the world’s only large-scale maker of polylactic acid (PLA) resin, from Cargill Inc., Minneapolis. Teijin will use its expertise in plastics to help develop new applications for PLA.
  • With NatureWorks’ PLA capacity virtually sold out, other sources of supply are emerging. Total Petrochemicals of Brussels, Belgium, has agreed with Galactic, also of Brussels, to form a joint venture called Futerro to make PLA. Total produces PP, PE, and PS (U.S. office in Houston). Galactic is a leading maker of lactic acid and has a plant in Milwaukee. A pilot plant capable of 3 million lb/yr will be built near Tournai, Belgium, by 2009.
  • Purac of Diemen, Netherlands, which claims to be the global market leader in lactic acid, will offer both D and L lactides as monomers to producers of PLA. Purac says using lactides instead of lactic acid lowers the technical hurdles to making PLA.
  • Telles, Lowell, Mass., the new joint venture of Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Co., is getting company in production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolymers. Meredian Inc., Bainbridge, Ga., has purchased the technology portfolio for PHA production developed by Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati. Meredian plans to begin construction this coming year in the Southeast on the first of four PHA plants that will have combined capacity of over 600 million lb/yr. Meredian was formed this year. An affiliated company, DaniMer Scientific, also in Bainbridge, produces PLA-based alloys for film, extrusion coating, injection molding, and thermoforming. Another affiliate, Seluma Technologies, offers a proprietary line of polycondensation biopolymers.


Fiberglass Merger Is Completed

Last month, Owens Corning, Toledo, Ohio, completed its acquisition of the Saint-Gobain Vetrotex fiberglass reinforcements and composite fabrics business. It has been combined with Owens Corning’s reinforcements business to form OCV Reinforcements, part of Owens Corning’s Composite Solutions Business and based in Toledo.


Ineos Completes Two Joint Ventures

October saw the launch of two new styrenics joint ventures. One was Ineos Nova, the 50:50 venture in polystyrene and styrenic-acrylic copolymers (Zylar and NAS) by Ineos of the U.K. and Nova Chemicals, Pittsburgh. The j.v. does not include Nova’s Dylark SMA copolymer. It is based at the former Ineos Styrenics offices in Channahan (Joliet), Ill. For more information visit Ineos Nova's PT Online Showroom.

The other venture is Ineos ABS Corp., which took over the Lustran Polymers business of Lanxess Corp., Pittsburgh. It includes Lustran ABS and SAN, Triax ABS/nylon, and Centrex ASA, AES, and ASA/PC. Ineos will acquire Lanxess’s 49% of the venture in Sept. 2009. Ineos ABS is based in Addyston, Ohio.


AGY Expands S-2 Glass Capacity 50%

AGY, Aiken, S.C., has raised its capacity for S-2 glass reinforcements by 50% and can add more capacity quickly when required. Extra capacity was needed to armor military vehicles for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. For more information visit AGY's PT Online Showroom.


Two New PP Compounds Businesses for Automotive

Two firms recently announced polypropylene compounds businesses aimed largely at automotive. First, ExxonMobil Performance Polyolefins is a new business unit of ExxonMobil Chemical Co., Houston. It will develop new custom specialty compounds and reinforced composites from engineered polyolefins, utilizing ExxonMobil’s slate of PP, PE, TPO, and elastomer materials.

Also new is Sumika Polymer Compounds America Inc., a manufacturing and marketing operation for automotive PP compounds from Sumitomo Chemical of Japan. Sumitomo already has a PP joint venture with Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.—Phillips Sumika Polypropylene Co. in Houston. Its new operation in Griffin, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, is a joint venture with Toyo Ink International. It will build a 90,000-sq-ft PP compounding plant with capacity for 52 million lb/yr, due to open in early 2009.


Degussa Is Now Evonik Degussa

Since September, the former Degussa AG of Germany has become Evonik Degussa, the Chemicals Business Area of the new Evonik Industries group in Germany. Evonik Degussa Corp. is the North American affiliate, based in Parsippany, N.J. For more information visit Evonik Degussa's PT Online Showroom.


New & Upcoming Resin Expansions

The last two months have seen several resin capacity announcements:

  • BASF Corp., Engineering Plastics, Wyandotte, Mich., opened what it calls the world’s largest plant for nylon 6 in Freeport, Texas. It has capacity of 264 million lb/yr and replaces a facility in Enka, N.C.
  • Fortron Industries LLC, a joint venture of Ticona Engineering Polymers, Florence, Ky., and Kureha Corp. of Japan, completed an expansion of Fortron PPS capacity. It brings the plant capacity to 33 million lb/yr, double its capacity of three years ago and reportedly making it the world’s largest PPS plant. Resin produced there is marketed by Ticona.
  • Victrex plc of the U.K. (U.S. office in W. Conshohocken, Pa.) completed a new plant for Victrex PEEK that adds nearly 3.2 million lb/yr.
  • Solvay Advanced Polymers, Alpharetta, Ga., completed an expansion in Marietta, Ohio, that nearly triples capacity for Radel polyethersulfone and polyphenylsulfone.
  • Next year, Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., plans at least a 50% expansion of capacity for its IntegRex technology to make PET and copolyesters at Calhoun County, S.C.
  • Late next year, Bayer MaterialScience in Germany (U.S. office in Pittsburgh) will complete a world-scale plant for polymer-filled polyether polyols in Antwerp, Belgium. It will have capacity for 120 million lb of polyols for flexible urethane foam. Bayer says a new process makes these polyols with unusually low VOC levels.