Price and market trends: INEOS to close VAM plant in UK

11 October 2013 10:01  [Source: ICB]

INEOS Enterprises plans to close its vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) plant in Hull, the UK. “Low cost imports and a hostile trading environment made closure inevitable”, it said, adding 18 jobs will be lost.

The date on which the plant will cease operations was not disclosed. The plant has a nameplate capacity of 300,000 tonnes/year.

The company’s ethyl acetate (etac) plant at the same site will remain in production, the company said. The etac unit has a nameplate capacity of 245,000 tonnes/year, according to ICIS data.

“INEOS acquired the VAM facility in 2008 and has committed over £40m [€47.6m] trying to make it competitive in world markets,” the statement said.

The company said the VAM market has become increasingly targeted by cheap imports, mainly from Saudi Arabia and the US, both of which benefit from low-cost raw materials. The VAM plant in Hull takes ethylene by pipeline from Grangemouth in Scotland.INEOS Enterprises CEO Ashley Reed said: “Regrettably, our cost per tonne remains significantly higher than the international competition and as a consequence we have lost a number of important contracts. We will do all we can to help those affected by this announcement.”

INEOS Enterprises acquired the plant from BP in April 2008. The unit was built in 2002 and was the first plant capable of producing 300,000 tonnes/year in a single train reactor, as well as being the only world-scale fluidised bed VAM plant, according to INEOS.

By: Samuel Weatherlake
+44 20 8652 3214

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