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6/25/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

Braskem Celebrates 30th Birthday of Spheripol PP Process

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Potential acquisition by LBI  would bring the technology back to its original home.

Braskem (U.S. office in Philadephia) celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Spheripol PP process technology at its Neal production plant in Kenova, West Virginia. The facility produces more than 500 million lb/yr of PP homopolymer.

According to plant manager Jeff Blatt, since its initial launch at the Neal facility, the annual production capacity of the plant has nearly doubled and the “future is bright as ever”. Within the past eight years, Braskem has invested more than $20 million in production facility infrastructure enhancements, helping further extend the plant’s successful record for safety, reliability, efficiency and environmental protection.

The Spheripol process is one of five key PP production processes, and deemed one of the most cost effective; the others are Unipol, Novolen, Innovene, and Spherizone. Now, it appears that Spheripol may end up returning somewhat back to its origins—developed by Basell, now LyondellBasell Inc. (LBI).

Just recently, industry rumors that polyolefins players Houston-based LBI was considering the acquisition of Braskem were confirmed via a mid-June joint announcement. Brazil’s Braskem informed its shareholders and the market that its controlling shareholder Odebrecht S.A., had begun discussions with LBI (headquartered in Rotterdam, The Netherlands), for a potential transaction involving the transfer to LBI of the totality of Odebrecht’s interest in Braskem.

The negotiations are in a preliminary stage, under confidentiality, and LBI has exclusivity. The companies will need to complete appropriate diligence, negotiate definitive agreements and obtain corporate approvals. “Both LyondellBasell and Braskem share a strong culture of operational excellence and legacies of value-creating innovation. We believe that the potential combination of LyondellBasell’s and Braskem’s complementary strengths, product portfolios and operational footprints would create significant value for our shareholders, customers and employees,” the companies jointly stated.