London-After weeks of speculation and rumour, Wanhua Industrial Group, whose Yantai Wanhua Polyurethanes Co. Ltd subsidiary is the largest isocyanate producer in Asia-Pacific region, has confirmed that it is in discussion with BorsodChem's majority owner, the private equity firm Permira, with a view to becoming a strategic investor in the Hungarian chemicals group.
The Hungarian producer of TDI (toluene diisocyanate) and MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) would give Wanhua its first manufacturing base in Europe, at Kazincbarcika, in eastern Hungary.
BorsodChem is the middle of a major expansion project at the site: debottlenecking MDI production by about 30 percent, but is considering delaying its planned second 200 kilotonnes-per-annum (ktpa) TDI plant, "until visibility on the future development of global TDI demand improves."
A 9 September statement from the Chinese firm said, "Wanhua believes that it could significantly contribute to BorsodChem's stability and long-term growth prospects via its operational and technological expertise as well as additional capital investment.
"Wanhua is committed to growing the business locally and improving employment opportunities at the site in Hungary," the statement added.