Industry News

Huntsman makes Significant Investment in European Surfactants Business

Published on 2006-01-20. Author : SpecialChem

Castiglione, Italy -- Huntsman Performance Products, a business division of Huntsman Corporation (NYSE: HUN), held the official opening ceremony of its production plant to enhance its sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) Dried Products business.

Huntsman invested $8 million in the initiative, which involved the installation of new drying technology at the company's Castiglione, Italy manufacturing facility.

Daniele Ferrari, business Vice President, commented, "This is a significant investment that underscores our commitment to the European surfactants industry. It involves the implementation of wiped film production technology, which is much more energy efficient than the existing spray drying process and will lead to substantially lower emissions of waste heat into the environment.

"The investment is key to securing the long term viability of the SLS business and will serve not only traditional surfactants industries such as home and personal care but also provide base stocks for other key sectors including construction, coatings and polymerization."

The new production unit, supplied by Ballestra, a world leader in surfactant manufacturing processes, began operations on schedule and within budget. Huntsman decommissioned its spray drying plants in the UK in December 2005 and will decommission the Italian spray units later this year.

"The consolidation of SLS Dried Products manufacturing at Castiglione allows us to rationalize the number of product grades we offer to the market", said Ferrari. "We can now maintain the same benefits to customers with about half the number of products and package combinations."

The new dryer technology project is a key element in the overall restructuring of Huntsman's European surfactants business, which involved combining the company's range of specialty surfactants and specialty amines. The restructuring also included the formation of a new business group to focus on serving the needs of industrial customers in a range of markets including agrochemicals, coatings, resins and polymers, resources, fuels and lubes (including construction, paper, metalworking, and water treatment markets) and process additives (including urethane catalysts, gas treatment and specialty amines).

"This integration is allowing us to provide a broader range of technology solutions to our customers," said Ferrari. "We believe our successful implementation of this rigorous restructuring plan is a further indication of Huntsman's strong and continued commitment to its surfactants business."

Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of commodity and differentiated chemicals. Its operating companies manufacture basic products for a variety of global industries including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, textiles, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging. Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging, and later, rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman today has revenues of $11.5 billion, 11,300 employees and 62 operations in 22 countries.

Statements in this release that are not historical are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management's current beliefs and expectations. The forward- looking statements in this release are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances and involve risks and uncertainties that may affect the company's operations, markets, products, services, prices and other factors as discussed in the Huntsman companies' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Significant risks and uncertainties may relate to, but are not limited to, financial, economic, competitive, environmental, political, legal, regulatory and technological factors. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the company's expectations will be realized. The company assumes no obligation to provide revisions to any forward-looking statements should circumstances change, except as otherwise required by securities and other applicable laws.

Source: Huntsman

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