Ineos to Sell EPS arm to Synthos

10.05.2016 -

Ineos Enterprises said it has reached “agreement in principle” to sell Ineos Styrenics, its expandable polystyrene (EPS) arm, to Polish producer Synthos for €80 million. The transaction is planned to be completed in the second half of this year, following regulatory approvals. All 250 employees will transfer to the new owner.

This marks Ineos’ pullback from EPS, a business it pieced together though acquisition. Its presence in the market dates back to a joint venture founded with Novachem in 2005, which was later taken over by the Swiss-based group. Following shutdown of its Marl, Germany, plant in 2013, Ineos was still one of the European market leaders. With over 300,000 t/y of production capacity, the business currently ranks behind BASF, Ineos’ former partner in the styrenics jv Styrolution.

The assets being sold produce high-end EPS grades for the building, construction and packaging industries at sites at Wingles and Ribécourt in France and Breda in the Netherlands and are supported by a technology center in Breda.

“The combination of Ineos Styrenics with Synthos will accelerate growth and deliver additional benefits to customers of both companies, giving them access to expanded technologies and an enhanced product portfolio,” said Ashley Reed, CEO of Ineos Enterprises.

“It will also offer new opportunities for employees who will be part of a company that is focused on and strategically committed to the long term future of the expanded polystyrene market,” Reed added.

Publicly traded Synthos, headed by Tomasz Kalwat as CEO, is one of Poland’s largest manufacturers of chemical raw materials. Europe’s first manufacturer of emulsion rubber, it is currently a leading manufacturer of polystyrene for foaming applications. Corporate headquarters is at Oświęcim, a town that gained notoriety under its German name of Auschwitz.

The global EPS market was valued at just under $14 billion in 2014 and at the time was projected to exceed $22 billion by 2020. The production side is dominated by Asia.