Three firms to withdraw from Kashima Chlorine & Alkali, Kashima VCM

16 December 2011 15:54  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS)--Three of the five Japanese chemical producers holding minority shares in Kashima Chlorine & Alkali and Kashima Vinyl Chloride Monomer (Kashima VCM) - Asahi Glass, Adeka and Kaneka - will withdraw from both joint ventures, the five companies said in a joint statement on Friday.

The other two companies are Shin-Etsu Chemical and Mitsubishi Chemical.

Domestic demand for caustic soda, VCM and its derivatives, namely polyvinyl chloride (PVC), has been shrinking over the past ten years, a source from Shin-Etsu Chemical said.

This is because PVC is used mainly in the industries of housing construction and water pipes, which “have peaked”, the source added.

After the three companies have withdrawn, Shin-Etsu Chemical and Mitsubishi Chemical will Increase their stakes in the two joint ventures, which will become Shin-Etsu Chemical’s subsidiaries, the five companies said.

Shin-Etsu Chemical and Mitsubishi Chemical have not yet discussed the percentage of shares they will have, the source said.

Currently, Asahi Glass, Adeka and Kaneka have 25%, 23% and 8% stakes in Kashima Chlorine & Alkali respectively, while Shin-Etsu Chemical and Mitsubishi Chemical hold 23% and 21% shares respectively.

As for Kashima VCM, Asahi Glass and Kaneka each hold 10%, Adeka holds 5%, Mitsubishi Chemical holds 25% and Shin-Etsu Chemical holds 50%.

It has not been decided when Asahi Glass, Kaneka and Adeka will withdraw from the two ventures, according to the source.

“We have only reached a basic agreement and we are yet to discuss a final agreement,” the source said.

However, Shin-Etsu Chemical hopes the restructuring of the two producers will be settled by the end of the fiscal year ending 31 March 2012, the source added.

Kashima Chlorine & Alkali’s production capacity of caustic soda is 400,000 tonnes/year, while Kashima VCM can produce 600,000 tonnes/year of VCM.

The companies’ facilities are operating at “a little higher than 50-60%” of capacity, the source said, without giving further details.

For more information on VCM and other chemicals, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Tomomi Yokomura
+65 6780 4359

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