Trinseo to shut styrene plant, PC line in Germany

Al Greenwood


HOUSTON (ICIS)–Trinseo plans to shut down its styrene plant in Boehlen, Germany, and close a polycarbonate (PC) line in Stade, Germany, to cut costs, the US-based styrenics and engineered materials producer said on Monday.

Trinseo also will consolidate its polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) sheet manufacturing site in Matamoros, Mexico, into the continuous sheet manufacturing operation of Aristech Surfaces in Florence, Kentucky. Trinseo acquired Aristech in 2021.

Trinseo also will reduce its styrene butadiene latex (SB latex) capacity at its plant in Hamina, Finland.

In all, the closures, consolidation and capacity reduction will cost $79m-89m in pre-tax charges. Out of that, $55m-61m of the charges will take place in the fourth quarter of 2022. The rest of the charges will take place through 2024.

Taken together, the shutdowns, consolidation and capacity reduction will improve the company’s profits by $60m/year when compared with the company’s run rate in the fourth quarter, Trinseo said. Most of those cost savings will be achieved in 2023.

Trinseo is shutting down the Boehlen styrene plant because of its subscale size as well as the start-up of new styrene plants and the high cost of natural gas in Europe.

For the PC line, Trinseo expects the shutdown will lower costs and reduce the company’s exposure to the cyclical merchant PC market. Trinseo will continue to produce PC at its remaining assets so it can use the material in its downstream compounding business.

For SB latex, Trinseo is reducing output because of over-capacity in Europe.

Trinseo was fined €32.6m by the European Commission for participating in a cartel concerning purchases of styrene.

Trinseo said it paid the fine in December.

In all, the European Commission fined Trinseo and four other companies a total of €157m.

The purchasers took part in the cartel activities at various periods between May 2012 and June 2018.

Unlike in most cartels where companies conspire to increase their sales prices, the companies colluded to lower an element of the price of styrene, the Commission said.

The companies admitted their involvement in the cartel, and they agreed to settle the case, the Commission said.

The five companies are Sunpor, Synbra, Synthomer, Synthos and Trinseo.

Sunpor, Synthomer Synthos and Trinseo benefited from a reduction of their fine for their co-operation with the Commission’s investigation.

A sixth company, INEOS, was not fined as it revealed the cartel to the Commission under a leniency programme, the Commission said.

Additional reporting by Stefan Baumgarten

Thumbnail shows a polystyrene cup, which is made with styrene. Image by Al Greenwood.


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