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Ticona acquires German LFT compounder FACT

Thermoplastics supplier Ticona has acquired FACT Future Advanced Composites Technology GmbH, a German compounder of long fiber reinforced thermoplastics (LFTs). The acquisition is effective with the New Year.

Officially the purchase is made by Ticona’s parent company, Celanese. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Ticona (Kelsterbach, Germany and Florence, Kentucky) offers its own Celstran line of LFTs; these are based on a polypropylene (PP) matrix.

FACT, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and employing about 60, was started as a private company in 1998 with three employees and two compounding lines, but by 2006, when MPW visited the company, it had grown to 50 employees and eight compounding lines. The compounder offers a wider variety of compounds than Ticona, using various matrix materials and also not only glass but also carbon and aramid fibers.

Belgian plastics supplier Ravago Group acquired FACT in 2005. In 2006 it acquired the Pryltex-brand
long glass fiber polypropylene production business of Arkema (Paris, France).

Within Ticona,
FACT will become part of a newly established business called Celstran GmbH and will be managed under the umbrella of the Ticona organization. The existing Celstran production in Kelsterbach, with its 25 employees, will be relocated to Kaiserslautern by mid-2011. Ticona already needed to move its production in Germany, as an already-approved extension of the Frankfurt Airport would have placed the company’s plant into a zone deemed unsafe incase of an airplane crash.

After long legal haggling,
Fraport, the airport manager, agreed to pay Ticona €650 million for the costs associated with the transition of the business from the current location and the closure of the Kelsterbach plant.

The year 2009 saw considerable jockeying within the LFT market. PolyOne entered the market late in the year; to now it is having its orders toll compounded by PlastiComp (Winona, MN). Plastics supplier Sabic Europe (Sittard, The Netherlands) is bringing online now a 140,00 tonnes/yr compounding site in Genk, Belgium for PP and LFT compounds. The company earlier this year acquired RheTech Inc.’s (Whitmore Lake, MI) RheMax product line and obtained a toll-manufacturing agreement with the company for Sabic’s line of Stamax LFT-PP materials. Under terms of that deal, existing RheMax products will be integrated under the Stamax brand name, with product formulations maintained.

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