Ludwigshafen warehouse fire leads to EPS availability speculation

28 June 2013 17:23  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--A fire at a storage depot in Ludwigshafen, Germany, on 22 June led to some speculation on Friday over the availability of expandable polystyrene (EPS) in the immediate future.

The conflagration, which had a fairly spectacular appearance (as shown here on YouTube) but caused no injuries either to employees or members of the public, was in a warehouse belonging to the port authority of the city of Ludwigshafen and rented by an external service provider.

The content of the unit was EPS beads manufactured by BASF, which, in a statement said was only a small fraction of its EPS inventory.

Although the company statement did not specify the quantity of material that went up in flames, other sources on both sides of the European market said on Friday they understood approximately 5,000 tonnes of EPS were lost to the fire.

An executive from another producer commented that the first thoughts of anyone in the industry were for the people located at or near any facility exposed to a fire, and second considerations concerned the reputation of the industry, while implications for the supply/demand balance of the market were a minor preoccupation.

A buyer said that the loss of the beads could become an issue when July contracts came to be discussed.

BASF's statement emphasised that the company did not expect any supply disruptions to its customers.

The BASF site and its production facilities for EPS were unaffected by the fire, and production was running as planned.

BASF's EPS capacity in Ludwigshafen is currently estimated at 240,000 tonnes.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Peter Gerrard
+44 208 652 3214

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