Arkema plans to close 30,000 tonne/year France PVC unit

06 November 2009 13:15  [Source: ICIS news]

An Arkema unit at Balan, FranceLONDON (ICIS news)--Arkema is planning to close a 30,000 tonne/year polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production unit at its facility in Balan, France, to make the plant more competitive, it said on Friday. 

The French global industrial and speciality chemical company said it had presented a plan to trade union representatives at the site, which currently has three PVC production units with a 325,000 tonnes/year overall capacity.

Arkema was proposing to close the oldest and smallest of the three units, while the two remaining plants would be updated in order to improve productivity.

The closure, forecast for the second quarter of 2010, would involve the loss of nine positions but those affected would be offered alternative positions at the site, Arkema said.

The company currently has a force majeure (FM) declaration in place across PVC production at four of its French sites, including Balan, St Auban, St Fons and Berre.

Arkema was compelled to declare FM on 9 September due to an unplanned outage at INEOS and Total’s joint-venture cracker at Lavera, France, which disrupted the supply of ethylene to Arkema’s upstream vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant at the same site.

The European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM), said that Europe currently produced about 6m tonnes/year of PVC resin, adding that the closure would not affect the market.

"At present the industry is producing below capacity so I do not think the closure of a plant will have a major impact. Certainly it could have a slight impact on price but the market would not be under supplied,” an ECVM representative said.

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By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214



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