US Olin to close 229,000 dmt/year caustic soda and vinylidene unit in Texas by late 2020

Author: Bill Bowen

2019/12/11

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US Olin will close a chlor-alkali facility and accompanying vinylidene chloride (VDC) facility in Freeport, Texas, by the end of 2020, the company announced on Wednesday.

The chlor-alkali plant has an annual capacity of 208,000 tonne/year of chlorine and 229,000 dry metric tonne/year of liquid caustic soda. The company did not disclose the capacity of the VDC unit.

In its statement announcing the closure, Olin said the company would save $35m/year in operating costs and realign its production capacity to better meet market demand.

The company also said it would take a charge of $65m of pretax non-cash restructuring charges against fourth quarter earnings to reflect the asset impairment related to the closures.

The chlor-alkali closure amounts to about 7% of Olin’s chlor-alkali capacity at the massive Freeport complex, now rated at 3.01m dmt/year of liquid caustic, according to the ICIS Supply & Demand Database and 4.3% of the company’s total North America capacity.

Olin’s Freeport chlor-alkali complex makes a slate of chlorine-derived chemicals, including vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, epoxy resins, bleach and other products.

The company reported total sales of $6.94bn in 2018 and it also owns the Winchester ammunition business.

Major US producers of caustic soda include Olin, Occidental Chemical, Westlake Chemical, Shintech and Formosa Plastics.

Image shows a piece of aluminium, which is made from alumina that is processed with caustic soda. Photo by Shutterstock