By Michael Lauzon, Plastics News Correspondent
Chicago, Illinois-As the first anniversary of the marriage of Crompton Corp. and Great Lakes Chemical Corp. approaches, Chemtura Corp. is making sure it is well-poised to meet plastics additives demand in fast-growing regions.
Among its additives portfolio, flame retardants draw special attention because of regulatory pressures on some types in some jurisdictions. Sean O'Connor, Chemtura's vice president of plastic additives, said Chemtura addresses the issue by defending products that it believes are not safety problems and by developing new products when current flame retardants might become ineffective or unacceptable.
"Greener is better," said O'Connor, speaking in a 20 June interview at NPE in Chicago.
Greener can come in small increments. Chemtura has introduced two new flame retardants for polyurethane that promise a "favourable environmental profile," the company said. Firemaster 550 and 552 have high scorch resistance and minimal effect on foam processing and physical properties, it claims.
Chemtura is also expanding an antioxidant joint venture in Saudi Arabia to support burgeoning growth in polyethylene production in the Middle East.
"Our Mideast investment is growing; we're right in there," said O'Connor.
Gulf Stabilizer Industries, a 51-49 joint venture between Zamil Holdings and Chemtura, plans a 35 percent capacity increase of Anox NBD blending capacity at its Al Jubail facility. Completion is slated for the third quarter of 2007.
"The expansion is being driven by the exciting growth of our customers‚ polyolefin production capacities in the Middle East region," O'Connor said in a statement announcing the expansion. The product is a blend of antioxidants, ultraviolet-light stabilisers and other difficult-to-handle additives commonly used to improve polyolefin performance.
Chemtura celebrated its first anniversary 1 July. The Middlebury, Connecticut-based firm claims to be the largest plastics additives producer in the world. O'Connor predicts additives sales will reach $1600 million this year. Cost savings from combining the Crompton and Great Lakes' businesses were expected to be about $150 million by 2007 and O'Connor said the company is on pace to achieve that.