Thursday, 23 June 2011 14:13

Decatur plant, INEOS, going global

Decatur Daily
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Parent company forms joint venture with German firm

INEOS officials expect a global joint venture in the plastics business to add marketing strength to the parent company and to its 37-year-old plant in Decatur.

England-based INEOS Industries Holdings Limited will own 50 percent of the joint venture with Germany-based BASF SE.

The joint venture, which recently received approval from antitrust regulators in the United States and the European Union, will be called Styrolution and based in Frankfurt/Main, Germany.

The 53-employee Decatur plant, whose previous owners include Monsanto Corp. and Nova Chemicals, will be part of the joint venture.

The goal of the joint venture is to produce plastics for the global market, said Ross Wonnick, INEOS vice president and general counsel.

“The joint venture is effectively an expansion of our existing business,” Wonnick said Wednesday. “The INEOS styrenics business today is North America and Europe. It’s taking that business and turning it into a global business.”

BASF is contributing plants in Germany, Belgium, Korea, India and Mexico to the joint venture. The venture will include INEOS plants in the United States, Germany, Spain, India, Thailand, Canada, France and Sweden.

“Styrolution will be capable of meeting the long-term needs of a rapidly changing market as it competes effectively with large-scale producers from Asia and the Middle East,” said Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of INEOS Capital, in a press release.

The creation of the joint venture is a step in BASF’s plans to sell its styrenics business, officials said.

The Decatur plant produces polystyrene pellets. It sells the pellets to molders, who make products such as plastic utensils, disposable food containers and plastic refrigerator parts.

The local production facility recently began a $5.5 million project to reduce the residual monomer level in its products, meeting safety concerns and making it more competitive.

Monsanto opened the Decatur plant in 1974. Nova Chemicals bought it in 1988, transferring ownership to a joint venture with INEOS in 2007. INEOS last year bought Nova Chemicals’ shares of the INEOS-Nova joint venture

The world’s third largest chemical group, INEOS employs 15,000 workers.

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