Lanxess will double capacity at its DuPont joint venture in Germany and build a new compounding facility in the U.S. to support 7% annual growth forecast through 2020 in what it calls "high-tech" plastics. Lanxess is investing €75 million in the ventures, including the new production facility in Gastonia, NC, which will have an initial capacity of 20,000 tonnes/yr, and will be the first U.S. compounding site for its Durethan polyamide 6 and 6,6, as well as its Pocan polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) resins.
The new North Carolina site represents an initial investment of €10 million and is expected to create up to 55 new jobslocally. Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2011, with production scheduled to start in 2012.
Lanxess also announced plans to double PBT production at its Hamm-Uentrop, Germany site, a joint venture with DuPont. The companies will invest €10 million in the operation, with the expansion expected to create nine new jobs, bringing the total staff count to 79. Expanded production at the plant, which opened in 2004 and is reportedly one of the largest of its kind in the world, is scheduled to begin in 2012.
Durethan and Pocan are part of Lanxess's semi-crystalline products business unit, which falls under the company's Performance Polymers segment. The business employs around 1500 people worldwide and has production sites in Belgium (Antwerp), Germany (Krefeld-Uerdingen and Hamm-Uentrop), and China (Wuxi).
Lanxess CFO Matthias Zachert noted in a January 2011 presentation to the Commerzbank of New York that the company's Performance Polymers unit has already completed compounding investments at its sites in Wuxi, China and Jhagadia, India, in addition to an investment in the production of PA monomer, caprolactam, at its Antwerp production site, spending €50 million.
Lanxess Performance Polymers experienced incendiary growth in 2010 over 2009, rebounding strongly from the global slowdown. The unit's sales increased from €656 million to €986 million from the third quarter of 2009 to the third quarter of 2010. In that same time, EBITDA more than doubled from €66 million to €143 million. Over the first nine months of 2010, sales were up nearly 67% from €1.663 billion to €2.772 billion, with EBITDA up nearly 270% from €125 million to €459 million. —PlasticsToday Staff