02 December 1996 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Huntsman Corp is strengthening its European operations to support its ambition to up sales in the region from $450m to between $800m and $1bn by 2000. Jon Huntsman jnr told ECN that the expansion will be made through debottlenecking existing facilities, acquisitions and joint ventures.
Two new vice presidents, based in Carrington, UK, and Ribecourt, France, will oversee the expansion.
Colin Jones, European financial director since 1990, will become vice president and managing director for Europe. Christian Caleca takes the role of vice president in Europe for polymers. He was formerly in charge of the company's European EPS business, based at Ribecourt, where capacity has been expanded to 80 000 tonne/year since its purchase from Atochem in 1993.
This year Huntsman has announced a $13m expansion of its Carrington polystyrene (PS) capacity to 182 000 tonne/year by the end of 1997. It has also entered a joint venture with Condea Chemie to build a 56 000 tonne/year maleic anhydride unit at Meerbeck Germany, and has increased capacity by 20% at its Llanelli, Wales, speciality chemicals plant, acquired with the Texaco purchase.
Speaking at Carrington last week, Jon Huntsman snr, chairman and chief executive officer of Huntsman Corp, said he expected more European consolidations in the near future, 'presenting opportunities for acquisition'.
Huntsman said it would be prepared to make a major acquisition in Europe and is still considering integration back into ethylene and/or styrene. 'There are several ideas in the melting pot already,' confirms Huntsman jnr.
'We are always in need of styrene and cannot rule out taking an equity stake [in a European producer].' Shell/BASF, Arco Chemical and Repsol are expanding styrene, with Arco said to be seeking an offtake partner for its Rotterdam project. Huntsman declined to comment further.
The firm is also refusing to rule out acquiring a continental PS production base, although studies are under way for more capacity at Carrington, where 'a new line is a possibility', said Huntsman.
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