Germany's BASF targets plastics growth, biopolymers expansion

25 June 2013 14:11  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--BASF intends for its downstream plastics, large-volume monomers and commodity polymers businesses to continue growing above average market rates in the future, the Germany-based specialty chemicals company said on Tuesday.

The company said its plans to prioritise the growth of its specialty polymers business include investing in the expansion of the basic chemicals production required for the manufacture of downstream chemicals.

BASF is currently developing a 400,000 tonne/year methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) plant in Chongqing, China and a toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

The company is also planning to expand its biopolymers operations in partnership with certification and training business TUV SUD, involving a newly-developed process for the flexible use of renewable raw materials at its Ludwigshafen site.

The process is already being deployed at the site, with biomass being employed as a raw material in the manufacture of basic products in existing plants.

BASF is also researching new techniques to expand the use of biopolymers in other product ranges.

“We are currently stepping up research into a biodegradable, primarily bio-based foam with properties similar to those of polystyrene foam, for use as packaging for food and electric and electronic goods,” said Martin Brudermuller, vice chairman of the board of executive directors.

All specialty polymers production is now grouped into BASF’s performance materials division – created in January 2013 – with sales for the division in the first quarter of the year totalling €1.6bn ($2.1bn).

In a separate statement, the company predicted that another specialty polymers sub-sector – composite components – will be worth around €2bn by 2025-2030, if strong development continues.

BASF is to invest a sum in the high double-digit million euros in research on thermoplastic and thermoset composites over the next three years.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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