Speaking at an analysts call, CEO Peter Huntsman said that the turnaround at the company's MDI facility in Rotterdam, Netherlands took about $35m off adjusted EBITDA because of third-party start up problems. These meant the plant had to run at reduced capacity in May and June. If Rotterdam had been running in a normal year, total volumes would have been 22% greater, he said. 'We were essentially sold out on our MDI units worldwide.'
There was growth in rigid and elastomer products powered by increases in construction activity in the US and Europe for rigid products, and the global footwear market for flexible products.
He added that volumes in the automotive sector fell from the first to the second quarter of the year as the chip shortage bit, but the company managed to sell material into the mattress market to make up the shortfall.
MDI volumes in the second quarter grew by 15% in the Americas and 13% in the Asia Pacific region, compared to the first quarter.
Looking across the company, sales were $3.9bn in the first half of 2021, up 36% on the same period last year. Adjusted EBITDA across the business rose by 184% to $623m in the first half of 2021.
'As I look at the coming quarters, the Geismar, Louisiana MDI splitter will start generating EBITDA in the second quarter of next year,’ he said. ‘We'll also see the benefits of an additional $20 million of cost savings as we streamline our polyurethanes business. Our polyurethanes spray foam business has been constrained due to raw material supply issues that will be solved in the second half of this year.
He added that MDI remains well balanced. ‘However, during the second half of this year just over 10% of the global capacity of MDI will be lost due to announced closures for needed maintenance work,’ he said. ‘This will be taking place at a time when our facilities ought to be operating at design rates and sold out.’