22 February 2013 14:22 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Zaklady Azotowe Kedzierzyn (ZAK) said it may restart its 8,000 tonne/year maleic anhydride (MA) plant in Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Poland, as early as March if market conditions in Europe improve, a company source said on Friday.
The Polish producer stopped operations at the MA plant in April last year because of the price of feedstock benzene, the company source added. However, market conditions for MA are starting to change with less imports moving into Europe from Asia, market sources said.
A number of European MA sellers have indicated they have seen a recovery in demand compared with half a year ago. Two western European sellers said sales so far are meeting expectations and they expect seasonal demand to kick in , particularly in the second quarter.
Last December, Italy-based producer Polynt shut its benzene-related MA unit in Scanzorosciate, Bergamo, because of poor economics. The benzene-related MA unit, which according to the company has an estimated nameplate capacity of 35,000-36,000 tonnes/year, was taken offline back in the second half of December.
Benzene prices in Europe have risen sharply in the last two years. Between July 2011 and February 2013, the benzene contract price has risen by €286/tonne ($376/tonne).
($1 = €0.76)
By Renee Lawrence
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