Dow rules out Eni purchase of Porto Marghera TDI

21 September 2006 09:54 Source:ICIS News

The Porto Marghera petchems complexLONDON (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical has received no approaches from Italian energy group Eni to repurchase its toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) plant at Porto Marghera near Venice and will not be deflected from its plans to close the facility permanently, a company spokesman in Italy said on Thursday.

Eni, which sold the 118,000 tonnes/year plant to Dow in 2001, is considering a asubstantial investment to upgrade its chlorine chemical facilities at Porto Marghera.

"But Eni has already declared that it's not interested in rebuying the [TDI] plant from Dow," he added.

Dow closed the TDI plant this summer for maintenance and three weeks ago announced its permanent closure as part of a global cost-cutting programme.

The announcement triggered widespread concern among chemical workers throughout Porto Marghera and led to demonstrations and limited-duration strikes which so far have had little impact on production.

The Dow spokesman said efforts were continuing to find alternative employment for its 180 workers at Porto Marghera but he admitted that very few opportunities existed within the company's operations in Italy.

Hungarian chemicals group BorsodChem has said it has no plans to bid for the Dow TDI plant. The Dow Italy spokesman said no approach had been received.

"If Dow has not been able to make this investment productive I doubt that any other company could do it," he added.

He said the plant would need new investment and would still face competition from new capacity in Asia that was driving TDI prices lower and lower.

Potential investors would also be aware, he added, of local population concerns over the phosgene process used in TDI manufacture. 

By Neil Sinclair