LEVERKUSEN, Germany – LANXESS AG plans to invest EUR 35 million in its group of facilities for the production of basic chemicals in Leverkusen, Germany. The specialty chemicals group is expanding capacity of cresols and their derivatives and monochlorobenzene for the global market by up to 60 percent. Work on extending production plants is scheduled for completion by the beginning of 2010. “The markets of these chemicals are in a strong period of consolidation and LANXESS is helping to shape this process actively. We are still able to make this investment despite a possible weakening of the economy, as the greater part of the capacity increase is already covered by supply contracts,” said LANXESS Board member Werner Breuers.
“Our aim is to expand further to support the growth of our customers for whom the long-term reliability of supplies is hugely important in the current climate of consolidation,” said Hans-Georg Schmitt, head of the Basic Chemicals business unit. He added, “We have invested in our facilities on an ongoing basis over the past years to gradually increase capacity, spending around EUR 60 million in total. This latest investment represents a major step forward.”
The focus of what is the biggest single investment that the Basic Chemicals business unit has ever made is on expanding production of cresols and their derivatives, Vulkanox BHT and Vulkanox BKF. “The expansion ensures that we will be able to meet our customers’ rising demands for cresols and Vulkanox in future,” explained Ralf Krueger, Marketing Manager Chlorotoluenes & Derivates in the Basic Chemicals business unit.
LANXESS is a global group and covers a very wide range of applications with these chemicals, which are primarily used as intermediates. In a parallel operation, LANXESS is also increasing the capacity of monochlorobenzene production in response to the rising demand for this key intermediate in the chemical industry.
Chlorotoluenes, cresols and chlorobenzenes are produced from the petrochemical raw materials toluene and benzene by way of chemical reactions. The production operations established in Leverkusen form parts of a group of facilities known as the aromatics network. The basics of this network have been in existence for over 100 years, and in addition to chlorotoluenes, cresols and chlorobenzenes, it also covers product groups such as chloronitrobenzenes, monoisocyanates, nitrotoluenes and toluidines. Basic chemicals from LANXESS act as essential starting products for agrochemicals, polymers, surface coatings and pigments.