24 June 2011 07:46 [Source: ICIS news]
Clarifying comments made in a speech at the 15th world chlor-alkali conference in
European chlor-alkali producers said that the costly conversion to membrane-cell technology came could not have come at a worse time.
European regulations require all plants to switch to the more energy efficient membrane-cell method of production by 2020.
Margins for downstream polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which account for the majority of European chlorine use, have remained in negative territory since 2008, they said.
Demand for suspension PVC (SPVC) in 2008 slumped by 25% from record 2007 levels, in line with the global economic downturn. Soaring feedstock prices also squeezed margins, they said.
Little has changed in recent years, with offtakes remaining 10–15% below 2007 levels, as the key construction industry, remains shaky, the producers said. The sector accounts for more than 70% of SPVC offtake.
The eurozone recorded a 4.9% year-on-year decline in construction output in March 2011, with
Additional reporting by Stephanie Wilson
($1 = €0.70)
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