APLA '11: Brazil’s Unigel may convert PS plant to ABS facility

08 November 2011 15:03  [Source: ICIS news]

BUENOS  AIRES (ICIS)--Unigel is considering converting its recently acquired polystyrene (PS) plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to produce acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), an executive with the Brazilian styrenics and acrylics producer said on Tuesday.

The ABS project would have a 90,000 tonne/year capacity and could come onstream in late 2013, said Unigel vice president Marc Slezynger.

Brazil’s Unigel  acquired the 110,000 tonne/year PS plant, located in Guaruja in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo, from US-based chemicals producer Styron at the end of last year. Styron, which is owned by private equity firm Bain Capital, was part of Dow Chemical until 2010.

“We are studying changing that plant into an ABS plant,” Slezynger said.

“The ABS market is definitely an interesting one in Brazil. It’s a market where we already have two of the raw materials ­– acrylonitrile and the styrene – and the butadiene is available from Braskem,” he said.

Another option for Unigel would be to build the ABS plant in Camacari, in Brazil’s northeast state of Bahia. “We are decided on the ABS project but are still studying whether it makes more sense to convert this PS plant, or to make a new plant in Bahia, near the raw materials,” Slezynger said.

“This decision will depend on the investment comparison between building a new greenfield plant versus converting the Dow plant. Converting the Dow plant would eliminate the PS capacity, and we believe this capacity might be necessary in the near future as demand grows,” he added.

Slezynger was speaking to ICIS during the Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting.

For more on PS and ABS visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Anna Jagger
+44 20 8652 3214

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