Canadian Plastics

BASF cuts back PS production

Poor market conditions have prompted BASF to take 12% of its total polystyrene production capacity off line in Nort...

February 20, 2003   Canadian Plastics

Poor market conditions have prompted BASF to take 12% of its total polystyrene production capacity off line in North America, effective immediately.
A continued deterioration in polystyrene market conditions has reduced margins below acceptable levels, said Jay Kline, group vice-president, Styrenics, BASF Corporation.
“Because the outlook for this market calls for further compressed economics during 2003, we are taking the necessary steps to reduce the costs associated with these assets,” Kline explained. “The capacity reduction will remain in effect until market conditions justify a restart.”
Kline also stated that BASF continues to be strongly committed to the styrenics industry in North America.
Speaking last fall at the Canadian Plastics Resin Outlook conference, styrenics expert Alex Lidback noted that global operating rates were running at about 80%. At that time, he did not foresee a major recovery in North America demand for polystyrene during 2003, and noted that producer margins were low during 2002. Lidback is director, benzene and styrenics, with Chemical Marketing Associates Inc. (Houston, TX).
According to CMAI, BASF is the fourth largest producer of polystyrene in North America, behind Atofina, NOVA and Dow.


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