BASF is making further cuts in its polystyrene business by dismantling one of its units at Ludwigshafen in Germany, making permanent the shutdown of this plant in April.
The move takes BASF’s European polystyrene capacity down by 80,000 tonnes to 540,000 tonnes, a reduction of around 13 per cent, and comes as a result of the fall in demand for polystyrene. BASF cut its European output of polystyrene by 25 per cent last October.
BASF will continue to produce polystyrene in Ludwigshafen, but it will be used primarily in-house, for the manufacture of Styrodur C and Neopor insulation products. Future, orders for polystyrene from European customers who had previously been supplied from Ludwigshafen will be filled mainly from the plant at BASF’s Antwerp site in Belgium.
The capacity cut is part of BASF’s attempt to increase the profitability of the styrenics business, which has been for sale for the last couple of years. Head of the Styrenics business unit Dr Joachim Streu said that while the company was making efforts to strengthen it and improve profitability “We nevertheless still intend to sell this business”.