07 June 2001 16:58 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--AtoFina, the chemicals subsidiary of TotalFinaElf, has signed a letter of intent to sell its 35 000 tonne/year chlorotoluene plant in Widnes, northwest England, to Belgium's Tessenderlo Group.
A spokeswoman at AtoFina told CNI on Thursday that the decision was taken because the chlorotoluenes activity is not regarded as a core business. Financial details of the deal, which is subject to approval from the relevant authorities, were not disclosed.
The Widnes facility, which houses the toluene chlorination plants and production plants for most chlorotoluene derivatives, has a turnover of about Euro40m ($34m). It will be absorbed into Tessenderlo's fine chemicals division which had a turnover last year of Euro176m.
About 130 people are employed at Widnes and there will be no job losses after Tessenderlo's takeover, the AtoFina spokeswoman said.
Under the terms of the agreement with Tessenderlo, AtoFina will retain its chlorotoluene derivatives plants in Loison (Pas-de-Calais) and Epierre (Savoie), both in France. The 20 000 tonne/year Loison plant and 500 tonne/year Epierre facility will be supplied with feedstock by Tessenderlo.
AtoFina recently brought onstream a new benzoyl peroxide plant at Loison and said its competitiveness in terms of raw materials for organic peroxides would be strengthened by the Tessenderlo deal.
The acquisition will enable Tessenderlo, a worldwide player in the chlorotoluene markets, to expand its geographic coverage and product range. Tessenderlo produces chlorotoluenes in Tessenderlo (Limburg, Belgium), Calais (Pas-de-Calais, France), Peive Vergonte (Italy), Maastricht (The Netherlands) and Lianyungang (China). The five plants have a total capacity of around 60 000 to 65 000 tonne/year.
Chlorotoluenes and its derivatives are used as synthetic intermediaries primarily in pharmaceuticals for a large number of active principles (antibiotics), as well as agrochemicals.
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