Ineos Phenol to Buy Mitsui Phenols Singapore

29.08.2022 - Ineos Phenol is paying $330 million to acquire Mitsui Phenols Singapore. With the deal, expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, subject to regulatory approval, it will add 1 million tonnes of annual capacity to its production volume. The business had sales of $750 million in 2021 and 120 employees, all of whom will transfer to the new owner.

The Ineos subsidiary will buy the Mitsui offshoot’s entire asset base on Singapore’s Jurong Island, including facilities capable of producing 410,000 t/y of cumene, 310,000 t/y of phenol, 185 t/y of acetone, 20,000 t/y of alpha-methylstyrene and 150,000 t/y of bisphenol A, the starting material for polycarbonate and epoxy resins.

The activities are said to be a “complementary fit” with Ineos Phenol’s existing operations in the US, Belgium and Germany, and buying the Singapore business is aimed at allowing the company to support its global customers more effectively while developing new markets and relationships in Asia.

As part of an integrated production circuit, all of the facilities on the petrochemicals island fit together. Cumene is an essential raw material for phenol, acetone, alpha-methyl styrene and BPA. Beyond polycarbonate, these go into phenolic resins, manmade fibers and solvents.

Ineos regards itself as the world’s leading producer of phenol and acetone, with capacity to turn out 1.9 million t /y of the first and around 1.2 million t/y of the second. It has operating assets in Germany, Belgium and the US and a dedicated research and technology center based in Germany.

Adding production and supply capabilities in a prime location in Asia has been a long-term business objective, and the acquisition provides the company with “an excellent opportunity to further improve the competitiveness of our business,” said Hans Casier, CEO of Ineos Phenol.

“Mitsui’s assets are good quality, well placed assets, complemented by a very experienced operations team and high safety, health and environmental standards,” the Ineos executive said.

With BPA into the NGOs’ crosshairs

Gordon Adams, business director at Ineos Phenol, added that “the company looks forward to developing new markets and customer relationships associated with bisphenol A, which will be a new product for us.”

With the takeover, the London-managed chemical producer will join a number of other BPA makers, including Bayer, in the crosshairs of environmental health groups.

The substance has been under scrutiny, and attack, as a suspected carcinogen for a number of years. Though the fight among industry, government and NGOs up to now has not been resolved, more attention has been trained on glyphosate since Bayer took over Monsanto in 2018.

Demand for both phenol and acetone continues to grow worldwide. Through selective investments in new assets and new technology, the business intends to further develop its business and grow with its customers, Ineos said.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist