US-based Styron plans to exit the commodity polycarbonate (PC) business in North America this year, which would result in the shutdown of the Freeport plant in Texas, a company source said on 22 May.
Formerly a part of Dow Chemical, Styron operates the PC plant in Freeport, which is still owned by Dow.
The plant has a capacity of 105,000 tonnes/year, according to ICIS plants and projects.
“It’s a bit complicated because the plant still belongs to Dow,” the company source said. “So we’re terminating our contract with Dow in the second half of this year, and the plant will cease production and stop commissioning before the end of 2014.”
Faced with unfavourable market conditions, Styron felt that the way to make itself a stronger supplier would be to exit the commodity segment, which included optical media, sheet and film, compounding, extrusion moulding and most injection moulding grades.
Instead, the company will focus on its high performance plastics segment in North America, as well as current businesses in other regions.
“By doing that, we keep our presence in North America,” the source said. “In Europe, we have much bigger plants, and we’re keeping everything the same, so basically no change for Europe and no change for Asia.”
The source added that the restructuring of its business in North America only affects its polycarbonate unit.
Styron also produces other plastic resins such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), engineered polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), as well as styrene acrylonitrile (SAN). In addition, the company produces a broad range of latex and synthetic rubber products.
Styron previously announced plans to change the name of all of its affiliated companies to Trinseo. While some have completed the name change process, others will continue to operate as Styron until their respective name changes are completed.