Industry News

Proposed consolidation of the Methyl Methacrylate / Polymethyl Methacrylate activity

Published on 2009-06-26. Author : SpecialChem

Arkema and its subsidiary Altuglas International presented to their respective Central Works Councils plans for the reorganization of both the Arkema Carling site and the Altuglas International PMMA Sheet business.

Reorganizing the Methacrylics activity to secure its long term

Arkema produces methyl methacrylate (MMA) at its European sites of Carling (France / Moselle) and Rho (Italy), which is supplied to external customers and is used by its subsidiary Altuglas International to manufacture polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Altuglas International operates PMMA production plants in Europe, North America, and Korea.

MMA worldwide production capacities have increased significantly in recent years, particularly in Asia, which is having a structural effect on the balance of the market and on export outlets for European plants. Accordingly, Arkema, which is committed to securing the long-term future of its methacrylics activity, plans to shut down its Carling plant to concentrate MMA production on its Rho site in Italy, which is much more efficient.

Consolidating the Carling site around its Acrylics activity

Meanwhile the Carling facility, one of the world's leading acrylic acid production sites, would be reorganized around its acrylics activity, and would benefit from proposed investments of some € 40 M to strengthen its acrylic acid, acrylic esters, and cationic monomer plants over the long term. These investments would complement current capital expenditure of some € 25 M, in particular for 2-ethyl hexyl acrylate production and for the superabsorbent plant operated on behalf of Sumitomo Seika.

Refocusing PMMA Sheet production on higher added value products

As regards PMMA, Altuglas International plans to refocus its European business on greater added value Sheet products by reducing the activity of its Bernouville site (France / Eure) which is structurally loss-making, and by consolidating its Carling Saint-Avold logistics set-up.

Offering a solution to every employee concerned by the loss of a position

The plans, whose implementation is subject to the legal information and consultation process involving the trade unions, would entail the loss of 163 positions at the Arkema Carling site and 76 positions at the Bernouville site. Arkema is committed to taking every possible step to identify solutions for every individual concerned, in particular through internal or external redeployment and the negotiation of early retirement packages funded by the Company.

Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is the monomer of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), also known as acrylic glass, marketed under the tradenames Plexiglas® on the American continent and Altuglas® in the rest of the world. PMMA is used in countless industrial applications, in particular the manufacture of everyday products, e.g. new generation television screens, illuminated signs, baths, and motor car rear light clusters.

A global chemical company and France's leading chemicals producer, Arkema consists of three businesses: Vinyl Products, Industrial Chemicals, and Performance Products. Arkema reports sales of 5.6 billion euros. Arkema has 15,000 employees in over 40 countries and six research centers located in France, the United States and Japan. With internationally recognized brands, Arkema holds leadership positions in its principal markets.

Source: Arkema

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