Ineos and Solvay Offer More Divestments for PVC Merger Approval

05.03.2014 -

In another attempt - just under the wire - to win EU approval for their proposed 50:50 PVC joint venture, Ineos and Solvay have wrapped up another package of proposals for divesting assets.  

The Commission is due to rule on the merger Mar. 21.

Announcing its in-depth probe into the jv plans in November 2013, the Brussels authority said it was concerned about a loss of competition in the EU market for suspension PVC (S-PVC) as well as for the bleaching agent sodium hypochlorite, in particular in Belgium. For both products it has said the new company would be a heavyweight player.

Having pieced together assets sold by older, established players during more than a decade, Ineos is already Europe's largest producer of S-PVC, which accounts for 53% of its chlorine-related assets.

Initially, the potential partners had offered to divest Ineos' 320,000 t/y PVC plant at Schkopau, Germany - acquired from Dow Chemical - and its 370,000 t/y plant at Wilhelmshaven, Germany - formerly belonging to European Vinyls Corporation, a joint venture of Enichem and ICI - as well as 400,000 t/y of vinyl chloride (VCM) capacity. However, the Commission said "the commitments failed to provide a sufficiently clear-cut solution."

The latest proposal presented by Solvay and Ineos calls for the additional divestment of PVC plants at Beek, The Netherlands (Ineos) and Mazingarbe, France (Solvay), along with the shedding of assets in chlor-alkali, ethylene dichloride (EDC) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) in Tessenderlo, Belgium, acquired by Ineos from the company of the same name in 2011.

Ineos' PVC plant at Schkopau is downstream of a 330,000 t/y VCM plant operated by Dow at the site of a former East German chemical combine it spectacularly acquired from the German government and built up in the 1990s.