Antwerp, Belgium -- BASF Antwerpen NV said 23 Oct that it will close its 115 kilotonnes-per-annum maleic anhydride (MA) production facility by the end of 2009. By the end of 2009 all BASF activities at its site in Feluy, Belgium will cease, the group added.
BASF employs 133 people at Feluy, which is part of BASF Antwerpen NV.
According to BASF's statement, its MA business is "suffering from unsatisfactory profitability due to overcapacity and resulting low margins together with the effects of the current economic crisis."
Despite optimising f the plant at Feluy has not been sufficient to secure a sustainably competitive cost structure. "A withdrawal from maleic anhydride production in Feluy would help us to focus on our core intermediates businesses and Verbund value chains such as butanediol and derivatives, as well as polyalcohols," said Dr Tom Witzel, group vice president Diols & Polyalcohols Europe of BASF's Intermediates division.
MA serves mainly as a building block to produce unsaturated polyester resins, for composites, particularly in shipbuilding, construction and automotive uses.
"Information and consultation procedures have been initiated today with the works council. We will start negotiations with the union representatives as soon as possible to ensure socially acceptable solutions for all employees who could be affected and to evaluate alternative employment options should the closing be effectively decided," said Wouter De Geest, ceo of BASF Antwerpen NV.