Celanese Strengthens Acetyls Business

03.02.2020 -

US specialty chemicals company Celanese has announced it is buying Nouryon’s Elotex range of redispersible polymer powders for an undisclosed sum. Celanese said the acquisition marks a critical step it its acetyl core derivatization strategy and supports the continued growth of its vinyl acetate ethylene (VAE) emulsions business.

The announcement came just a day after the Dallas, Texas-based group disclosed it was investing in a series of VAE capacity expansions

““By acquiring Elotex, Celanese will have direct access to relatively fast-growing applications and a customer base that is complementary to our emulsions business. The acquisition offers additional flexibility and downstream growth optionality through derivatization, both of which are vital to unlock value under our unique global acetyl chain business model,” said Todd Elliott, Celanese’s senior vice president, acetyls.

“With this acquisition, Celanese will extend its global leadership position in the VAE emulsions space and continue to support our customers in construction and building materials, where Celanese is already focusing significant product, solution and customer development efforts,” Elliott added.

Celanese will acquire all of Nouryon’s global production plants for redispersible polymer powders, together with all Elotex products, customer agreements and technology. Elotex has production plants in Europe and China that include Frankfurt, Germany; Geleen, the Netherlands; Moosleerau, Switzerland; and Shanghai. Its global headquarters, R&D and technical service functions are located in Sempach, Switzerland.

The transaction is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2020, subject to the usual closing conditions, regulatory approvals and completion of the works council process.

The US firm is also planning a series of investments in VAE capacity in order to “capture disproportionate growth in the global emulsions market”. The program comprises a range of expansion and debottlenecking projects from now through 2023.

In Geleen, Celanese will debottleneck its VAE unit by 20,000 t/y by 2021. It will then install an additional reactor, adding another 50,000 t/y by early 2023, taking total capacity at Geleen from 130,000 t/y to 200,000 t/y.

At its Nanjing site in China, a plant debottlenecking will initially add 20,000 t/y by 2022. Celanese will add a third VAE reactor by late 2022, boosting total capacity at the site to 215,000 t/y from 130,000 t/y.

In addition to the Geleen and Nanjing projects, Celanese intends to add an estimated 25,000 t/y through incremental capacities at its other (undisclosed) emulsions sites by 2023.

The company noted that its expansion plans “will be implemented when operationally feasible and pending customary regulatory and permitting approvals”.

Last October, Bloomberg reported that Celanese was performing a strategic review that could include a breakup.