23 May 1994 00:00 [Source: ICB]
HÜLS IS planning to sell parts of its synthetic rubber business to world market leader Bayer and shut down the rest in a revamp of commodity chemicals which is expected to return the Veba subsidiary to profitability by 1995 (ECN 23 May p15).
Polyvinyl chloride activities are also to be hived off into a separate company. Problems with PVC and rubber are blamed for most of the DM485m ($291m) operating loss in 1993.
Also set for divestment are Hüls America's polyethylene foams business, polyethylene pipe manufacturer Kunststoffwerk Höhn and yeast producer Deutsche Hefewerke.
Earlier this year, polyolefins manufacturing capacities were transferred to sister company Veba Oel and plastics processing subsidiary Hüls Troisdorf sold to Rütgers, in exchange for a 25% stake in Phenolchemie.
Fibres subsidiary Faserwerk Bottrop was sold to Denmark's Danaklon group in April. And in 1993, industrial gases activities were sold off and production of alkyl benzene shut down.
As a result of the changes, the Marl group will lose DM2.5bn/year in sales and 5300 employees. Chairman Erhard Meyer-Galow said plans to eliminate 8000 jobs (against the end of 1990 level) by Q4 of 1994 are on target.
Also to be shutdown - with the loss of 450 jobs - are styrene butadiene (SBR) production units achieving DM160m in turnover, which cater to the tyre business.
The sale to Bayer is subject to approval by cartel authorities in Germany and the EU. But Meyer-Galow said he is 'hopeful' that there will be no objections, as the product lines are complementary.
With the spin-off of its 300 000 tonne/year PVC activities into a new 'lean production' firm, Vestolit GmbH, Hüls will shed 400 out of 850 jobs.
Meyer-Galow said there are no plans to bring PVC activities into a joint venture with another manufacturer. While not ruling out the possibility of a joint venture, he remarked that Hüls feels strong enough to continue on its own.
At Chemiewerk Nünchritz in eastern Germany, where silicon production is concentrated, capacities for methylene chloride silane are to be expanded to 60 000 tonne/year from 18 000 tonne/year at the cost of DM140m, with investment subsidies from the Treuhandanstalt.
After restructuring is completed, the chairman said Hüls will turn its attention to acquisitions in the US and Asia. He said the group is negotiating four jv projects in China.
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
Sample issue >>
My Account/Renew >>
Register for online access >>
|ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies|
|Download the listing here >>|