Mitsubishi Plans US MMA Plant, Merges Subsidiaries

14.12.2020 - Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical has acquired a greenfield site on the Mississippi River in Geismar, Louisiana, USA, for its proposed 350,000 t/y methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant. It has bought the 67-acre site from synthetic rubber producer Lion Elastomers.

Mitsubishi said the site is ideally suited because of the readily available raw materials, logistics infrastructure, integrated services and skilled workforce.

Early engineering work on the plant, which will use Mitsubishi’s proprietary Alpha technology, is underway and a final investment decision is scheduled in early 2022. If the go-ahead is given, the facility will start production in 2025.

The plant will be the third and largest commercial application of  Alpha technology since its initial development and deployment by affiliate Lucite International in 2008. The other two plants are at Jurong, Singapore, and Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia, the latter being operated by Saudi Methacrylates Company (SAMAC), a joint venture with SABIC.

Chief operating officer Hitoshi Sasaki said the new plant will strengthen its global leadership in the merchant MMA market and also demonstrates its commitment to supply customers in both the US and all regions of the world.

Last month, Mitsubishi announced that it would close its 135,000 t/y MMA plant at Beaumont, Texas in order to boost competitiveness and optimize its supply chain in keeping with demand and supply trends for raw materials. Production will stop on Feb. 28, 2021.

In separate news, Mitsubishi Chemical has announced it will integrate subsidiaries in the UK, Germany and the US by Apr. 1, 2021, as part of its medium-term management plan.

The company says the move will enhance cooperation and further strengthen overall business capabilities by sharing and integrating expertise and resources.

In the UK, five subsidiaries will merge into Mitsubishi Chemical UK, located in Billingham, Cleveland. The subsidiaries are Mitsubishi Chemical UK, Lucite International Trading, Lucite International Specialty Polymers & Resins, Nippon Gohsei UK and MC Ionic Solutions UK.

In Germany, the following will form Mitsubishi Chemical Europe in Düsseldorf, Germany - Mitsubishi Chemical Carbon Fiber & Composites, Mitsubishi Chemical Europe, MCPP Europe, and Cleanpart Group and Cleanpart GmbH.

Nine subsidiaries in the US will be integrated into Mitsubishi Chemical America. These are Lucite International, Mitsubishi Chemical Performance Polymers, Dianal America, Mitsubishi Chemical Imaging, Cleanpart USA, Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Mitsubishi Chemical Composites America, MC Ionic Solutions US and Mitsubishi Chemical America.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist