Europe soda ash firms must heed Turkish 'trona' threat: bank

25 June 2013 16:21  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Major European soda ash producers including Belgium-based Solvay and Poland-based Ciech are under pressure to cut their cost bases as the potential competitive threat from expanding Turkish natural soda ash producers looms ever larger, a bank said on Tuesday.

“Cheap trona-based Turkish natural soda remains a risk in the future as new capacities should be launched,” said Dominik Niszcz, an analyst at Raiffeisen Centrobank (RCB).

For the moment, most of the Turkish output is sold on markets in the Middle East and Asia, with minor inflows into southern European markets, but that could change with the completion of major investment projects, he added.

One of these is a $1.35bn deal between Turkey's Ciner conglomerate and China's Tianchen Engineering Corporation to build the world's largest soda ash facility, with a capacity of 2.5m tonnes, near Ankara by early 2017.

The industrial complex, to be financed by Chinese banks, would also have a sodium bicarbonate capacity of 200,000 tonnes/year, while its key export markets would include South America and Australia, according to RCB.

“On top of cost savings, the production of natural soda ash generates a significantly lower amount of waste, putting EU producers in an even more difficult situation if the environmental requirements tighten in the future,” noted Niszcz.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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