19 October 2004 17:48 [Source: ICIS news]
FRANKFURT (CNI)--European Oxo, (Eoxo), the joint venture formed last year by German chemical companies Degussa and Celanese, plans to shut a butanol plant at Marl, Germany, by the end of 2005, it was confirmed to CNI on Tuesday.
Eoxo described the closure as part of a refocusing of activities on Europe.
The plant’s capacity of more than 100 000 tonne/year is shipped “almost completely to Asia,” although a small portion goes to the North American market, a spokeswoman said.
The plant is being shut because of a looming oversupply problem in Asia. Up to 2006, new butanol plants with a total capacity of around 470 000 tonne/year are due to come onstream in Asia, which will make it unprofitable to ship product there, the spokeswoman explained.
Along with transport costs, the dollar-euro exchange rate and the fact that local producers have lower production costs also played a role in the decision to close the plant, she said.
Some 40 employees will be affected by the Marl closure; however, there will be no mandatory redundancies. Production facilities for butanol at Oberhausen in Germany will remain unaffected by the move.
In future, Eoxo plans to concentrate its oxo alcohol activities in Europe. The restructuriing will enhance flexibility in Europe and create “a solid platform on which basis the company can secure growth through adding new products or reflect on cooperation,” general manager Martina Floel said in a statement.
Eoxo’s Marl site (formerly part of Huls), will continue to produce butyl acetate and carbonic acid. Along with butanol, the Oberhausen site (formerly Celanese) will continue to produce butyraldehyde, 2-ethyl hexanol and the plasticiser DOP.
Removal of the butanol capacity at Marl will do little to ease European overcapacity for the product, which has been estimated at 120 000 tonne/year, out of a market of 550 000 tonne/year.
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