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BASF restructures European plasticizer production

Published on 2002-11-06. Author : SpecialChem


According to a detailed business review, BASF will restructure production of plasticizers and phthalic anhydride in Europe. The manufacture of plasticizers and phthalic anhydride will stop in Tarragona, Spain, and future production will be concentrated at the company´┐Żs existing production plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Feluy, Belgium.

BASF stopped producing plasticizers there with effect from 31 August 2002, while production of phthalic anhydride, an intermediate used in the manufacture of plasticizers, will continue until 31 December 2002 to ensure that existing contracts are fulfilled. Forty employees at the plants will be affected. The company says that these measures are an important step toward the urgently needed restructuring of the European market, which is characterized by over capacity and therefore intense price competition.

The closure of a first plant for plasticizer intermediates in Tarragona in June 2001 and the acquisition of capacities for plasticizers and phthalic anhydride from SISAS in Feluy, Belgium, in July 2001 have preceded this decision. "Our aim is to extend our leading position in the European plasticizers market and to strengthen the business on a long-term basis", says Herbert Fietzek, responsible for BASF's plasticizers business in Europe.

BASF's annual production totals approximately 350,000 tonnes of plasticizers and 220,000 tonnes of phthalic anhydride. The plants at Tarragona began operations in 1971 and have an annual production capacity of 40,000 tonnes of plasticizers and 17,000 tonnes of phthalic anhydride. With the opening up of European markets, world-scale production plants are increasingly important in ensuring competitiveness. In the future, Spanish customers for plasticizers will be supplied exclusively from the plants in Ludwigshafen and Feluy via a tank park in Tarragona.

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