UpdateDow shutdown list adds Terneuzen, Texas, others

11 December 2008 22:21  [Source: ICIS news]

Dow Terneuzen chemicals complex(adds details paragraph 1, adds paragraphs 2-3)

By Linda Naylor

LONDON (ICIS news)--Dow Europe will close down styrene, polystyrene (PS) and ethylbenzene production at three of its 26 plants in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, it said on Thursday - as the company began specifying which other plants it will shut down.

Dow also said it would close its styrene and styrene derivative plants in Freeport, Texas; Pittsburg, California; and Varennes, Quebec, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Dow is also closing its chlor-alkali plant in Oyster Creek, Texas; its Nordel hydrocarbon rubber plant in Seadrive, Texas; its Tyrin chlorinated poleythylene (PE) plant in Plaquemine, Louisiana; and its emulsions systems facility in Xiaolan, China, the filing said. 

The closures were part of Dow’s transformational strategy and would be implemented as soon as possible, the company said.

Dow’s 50,000 tonne/year PS production at the site would be permanently shut, according to a company source. Further details of the styrene and ethylbenzene closures were not disclosed.

“Dow will concentrate the manufacturing of these products at a number of more modern plants in Terneuzen and elsewhere in the world,” the company said in a statement.

“At this point in time we do not have more details on the implementation of other actions within Europe.”

The source said that demand for PS products has declined dramatically over past months and there was no short-term sign of recovery.

“In addition to declining demand, the business is facing heavily compressed margins,” he said.

“In the light of these challenging economic conditions the Dow styrenics business has to meet the needs of the marketplace to ensure future profit and value for the business.”

“In accordance with the company’s transformational strategy Dow has to reduce its costs substantially to ensure the future success of the business”

“After extensive analysis the decision has been made to shut down the oldest PS train at the Terneuzen site”

PS production was running as low as 50% at some competitor European PS assets in December, to accommodate weak demand.

Dow Chemical recently announced that it would cut 5,000 full-time jobs, close 20 plants and sell businesses in a major restructure prompted by the economic downturn.

On Wednesday, the US major announced it would close a styrene plant and expedite the closure of a chlor-alkali plant in Freeport, Texas, as part of the strategy.

Additional reporting by Al Greenwood

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By: Linda Naylor
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