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Huntsman suspends work on planned Dutch plant

Published on 2009-02-11. Author : SpecialChem

THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Chemical maker Huntsman Corp. said it has suspended work on design and feasibility studies for its planned investment in a new methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) plant at its site in the Netherlands, as the downturn in the global economy limits demand MDI-based polyurethanes.

MDI is a key raw material for the polyurethane industry, which make the building blocks for thousands of everyday items such as tires, adhesives and upholstery.

Huntsman said the work, which includes preliminary engineering for the planned 400,000 metric tons capacity unit in Rozenburg, the Netherlands, will be halted at a stage to allow quick and efficient re-engagement at a future date. Until then, all third party work on the project will be suspended, the company said.

"We fully expect to see MDI growth return to historical levels as the global economy and consumer demand recover," said Tony Hankins, president of the polyurethanes division. "However, we believe it prudent to suspend the timetable for this major investment until we have greater visibility on how long this will take."

Huntsman began increasing its global production capacity for MDI in 2005 by working to expand its facilities. At the time the company planned to expand the Rozenburg plant by 220 million pounds per year to 880 million pounds per year.

The company said it will continue its internal evaluation of the potential construction of another MDI unit in China, with a number of different options under consideration.

Source: Huntsman


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