PITTSBURGH — Specialty chemicals company LANXESS is strengthening its presence in the growth market of North America with a comprehensive investment program. The company plans to invest up to $580 million in its asset base in North America until 2022.
“North America, and in particular the U.S., is a key growth market for LANXESS, where we have enlarged our footprint significantly with our recent acquisitions. Now we plan to upgrade our asset base there in order to leverage on its full potential,” said Matthias Zachert, Chairman of the Board of Management of LANXESS, during a U.S. visit.
More than $100 million of the total amount will be already spent in 2018, with some $50 million at the company’s largest U.S. site in El Dorado, Arkansas, mainly to upgrade the bromine brine exploration network, as well as the site infrastructure and pipelines.
El Dorado is the backbone of LANXESS’ highly integrated value chain for brominated products. LANXESS currently employs approximately 600 people at the El Dorado site.
The enlarged footprint is already reflected in very strong performance of LANXESS in the United States. In 2017, the company’s total U.S. sales increased by some 40% from $1.4 billion to $1.9 billion, the highest number in the company’s history. LANXESS also had a strong start into 2018. In the first quarter, U.S. sales increased by around 17% to $525 million, up from $450 million.
A major step on the growth path in North America was the acquisition of chemicals group Chemtura in 2017. With the takeover, LANXESS has significantly strengthened its competitive position in the area of lubricant additives and synthetic lubricants for industrial applications.
In February 2018, LANXESS took a further step to grow its additives business in North America by purchasing the phosphorus chemicals business from Belgian chemicals group Solvay, including its U.S. production site in Charleston, South Carolina.
With the acquisitions, LANXESS has significantly expanded its platform in North America. The company has roughly doubled its number of production sites and its number of employees in the region. LANXESS now has 24 production sites and employs some 2,800 staff in North America, with 19 production sites and 2,200 employees in the United States.