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August 14, 2019

Volume 2 Issue 33

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Huntsman Sells Surfactants Business

Indorama Ventures acquired Huntsman Corp.’s chemical intermediates and surfactants businesses for $2 billion, the companies announced last week. A number of products included in the acquisition can be used to make lubricants and metalworking fluid additives.

Indorama will acquire Huntsman’s production facilities in Chocolate Bayou, Port Neches and Dayton, Texas; Ankleshwar, India; and Botany, Australia.

The Port Neches, Dayton and Botany plants produce a combined 760 million pounds per year of surfactants, which can be used to make lubricants and metalworking fluid additives. The Chocolate Bayou facility also produces 400 million pounds per year of alkylates and linear alkyl benzene, a type of surfactant, while the Ankleshwar site produces 35 million pounds of surfactants and amines, though Huntsman does not provide specific production amounts for either facility.

The Port Neches and Botany facilities produce a combined 1.4 billion pounds of ethylene oxide, with the former also producing 525 million pounds of propylene oxide. Both ethylene oxide and propylene oxide can be combined with amines to produce a variety of amino alcohols, some of which are used in the lubricants industry.

The surfactants produced at the five plants are used as friction modifiers, and the alkylates are used as detergent additives, Tara Mullee, senior manager of corporate communications for Huntsman, told Lube Report.

The acquisition helps Indorama, a Bangkok-based petrochemicals producer, expand its North American footprint and diversify into surfactants, explained Anne Knisely, director of corporate communications for Huntsman. It is the company’s largest acquisition ever.

“This transaction further transforms Huntsman's balance sheet and future,” Peter Huntsman, chairman, president and CEO of Huntsman, said in a press release issued by the company. “It accelerates our ability to expand more in areas both downstream and complementary to our portfolio. This is another milestone in our stated strategy to focus more on our downstream and specialty businesses where we will generate more stable margins.”

Indorama will supply propylene oxide and other intermediates to Huntsman through a commercial arrangement, the latter said.

Other applications for the products manufactured at the five plants include solvents, resin intermediates and energy and fuels.

The transaction is expected to close near the end of the year.

Huntsman plant

Photo courtesy of Huntsman Corp.

Huntsman Corp.'s Port Neches, Texas, production facility, which makes surfactants. The company sold the facility and four others to Indorama Ventures as part of a $2 billion deal.