LONDON (CNI)--SolVin, the 75:25 joint venture between Belgium’s Solvay and Germany’s BASF, is to close its vinyls operations in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
The 150 000 tonne/year vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and 200 000 tonne/year polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant will be closed on 1 January, 2006 because they are not worldscale, Solvay said on Wednesday.
The 167 affected workers – all employees of plant operator BASF – would be transferred to other parts of the group, a spokeswoman for the German chemicals group said.
The BASF spokeswoman did not disclose the cost of closing the Ludwigshafen plants nor the savings that might accrue.
To compensate for the capacity losses after the closures, SolVin will increase its vinyls output elsewhere in Europe. However, the increase will not completely match the lost capacity at Ludwigshafen although SolVin insisted that the transfer of production would be achieved without distrubing the delivery of different product grades to the market.
Currently, SolVin also produces VCM and PVC at Tavaux and Berre in France, Jemeppe in Belgium, Martorell in Spain and Rheinberg in Germany.
SolVin would not identify which plant or plants were likely to be expanded. However, it said the decision would be taken on the basis of their intrinsic competitiveness.
A spokesman for Solvay confirmed that the additional capacity would be completed before 2006 to ensure a "seamless transfer" for SolVin customers.