03 March 2010 17:04 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)-- BASF will close its 115,000 tonne/year maleic anhydride (MA) plant at Feluy in Belgium during the next week, a company source said on Wednesday.
Confirmation of the shutdown follows months of negotiations with worker unions following BASF’s announcement on 22 October last year that it intended to exit the European MA market due to low margins.
BASF had originally intended to cease MA production by the end of 2009, but could not reach a settlement with union leaders.
Nevertheless, the company source said that BASF had now achieved an agreement with the worker unions, and the plant would be idled at some point during the next week.
The plant’s nameplate capacity was roughly one third of the total size of the European MA market, which was estimated to produce around 300,000 tonnes/year, according to market estimates.
Since BASF announced the closure, however, the Feluy plant was believed to have been operating well below its nameplate capacity.
The company source confirmed that BASF used a large part of its MA capacity captively, although it could not specify exact volumes. Following the shutdown at Feluy, BASF has made alternate plans to source its MA needs, the source added.
“We have achieved an agreement with another producer of MA for them to produce material on our behalf,” the source said.
($1 = €0.74)
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