Materials Science

LANXESS to invest €500m in North America through 2022

According to a report from ICIS Chemical Business, Germany-based LANXESS is set to invest around €500m in North America through 2022 to upgrade sites and expand capacity mainly through brownfield expansions.

“In North America we plan to upgrade our asset footprint. At many sites we will upgrade process technologies and consider some significant capacity expansionsm,” said CEO Matthias Zachert in an interview with ICIS. “We are running detailed feasibility analysis and will make announcements in the next 12-18 months.”

LANXESS produces engineering plastics for the automotive industry at its site in Gastonia, North Carolina, and its site in El Dorado, Arkansas – the company’s largest site in North America – includes the second-largest bromine reservoir in the world.

“Here we take bromine out of the ground, and produce derivatives such as innovative flame retardants, primarily for polystyrene (PS) foam insulation used in buildings, which reduces CO2 emissions,” said Zachert.

Along with flame retardants, lubricant additives is another core pillar for LANXESS and an area which could see significant capital investment, he noted.

“We also like urethane solutions which we acquired from Chemtura, and would equally consider expansions in the polyamide value chain,” said Zachert.

An expansion in urethanes or polyamide would likely take place at the company’s Gastonia, North Carolina, site, which produces castable urethane pre-polymers for products in the recreational and industrial markets, as well as two lines for engineering plastics compounding.