AFPM '19: Dutch Nouryon eyes US new capacities, M&A on polymers industry expansion

Author: Al Greenwood

2019/03/26

SAN ANTONIO (ICIS)--Nouryon is considering new capacity as well as mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the US because of the continued expansion of the nation's plastics industry, a director of the Dutch specialty chemicals producer said on Tuesday.

"The mandate for the company is to grow, and to grow fast," said Rob van de Graaf, sales director for polymer chemistry at Nouryon.

He made his comments on the sidelines of AFPM's International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).

Nouryon makes organic peroxides and metal alkyls, and these materials are integral in the production of polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

US companies have already started up several new PE plants and more are on the way.

To a lesser extent, companies are also building more PP and PVC plants.

These new units will increase demand for the organic peroxides and metal alkyls produced by Nouryon, said Van de Graaf.

Earlier on Monday, the company announced plans to double production capacity for solvent-based organic peroxides at its site in Los Reyes in Mexico.

The company had recently completed a project that doubled the emulsion-based organic-peroxides capacity at the site.

Emulsion-based organic peroxides are water-based and are typically safer, Van de Graaf said. They are widely used in Europe and Japan, and they have become more common in the US.

Nouryon has targeted other product chains as well in the US.

It started production of its Butanox line of methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (MEKP) at its site in Pasadena, Texas. Nouryon already sells another line of MEKP in the US called Cadox.

MEKP is used as a curing agent for unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) and vinyl ester resins. Demand for these tends to move at the same rate as changes in GDP, Van de Graaf (pictured) said.

Regarding M&A, Nouryon completed the acquisition of the Brazilian ketone peroxides producer Polinox last year.

Generally speaking, and in regards to growth, the US and North America continue to be strong markets, Van de Graaf said.

However, he said there has been a slowdown in Europe, while Asia has remained flat.

The US should continue to be strong, but it is hard to judge what will happen in Europe and Asia, Van de Graaf said.

Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC takes place on 24-26 March in San Antonio, Texas.

Top picture: LyondellBasell's Channelview petrochemicals complex in the US Gulf Coast
Pictures sources: LyondellBasell and Nouryon

Interview article by Al Greenwood