LyondellBasell Industries (Rotterdam, Netherlands) will cease polypropylene (PP) production in Terni, Italy, announcing plans to permanently shut down the unit since it's "no longer economically viable." The polyolefins supplier has been undertaking a company-wide assessment of its manufacturing footprint as it works to emerge from bankruptcy. In a statement, LyondellBasell said the site had approximately 120 permanent employees and a nameplate capacity of 255,000 tonnes/yr. PP production in Italy will now be focused on the company's sites in Ferrara and Brindisi. Anton De Vries, LyondellBasell's Sr. VP, olefins and polyolefins for Europe, Asia, and international, believes those operations will have adequate supply to pick up any slack from Terni.
Smaller, older units in Europe, which rely on crude oil derived naphtha as a key feedstock, have been increasingly targeted by the company. In December 2009, LyondellBasell announced it would shut down one PP line in Wesseling, Germany, by the end of 2009, reducing capacity at the site by 110,000 tonnes/yr. Three months prior in September, it announced plans to close a low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant located at Carrington, UK, also by the end of the year. That decision focused its LDPE production activities in Wesseling and the company's world-scale plant located in Berre, France. The Carrington plant had a nameplate capacity of only 185,000 tonnes/yr, making it one of the company's smallest LDPE manufacturing sites.
The company also announced a proposed agreement that would resolve objections by the Unsecured Creditor's Committee of its bankruptcy proceedings. That group had raised objections to the company's settlement of the estate's claims against the parties who financed the 2007 leveraged buyout of Lyondell by Basell. The proposed agreement, which remains subject to court and final internal approval, as well as final documentation, will help the polyolefin supplier emerge from Chapter 11, according to a press statement. —[email protected]