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Ineos Nova, Seea Polymers Plan New Polystyrene Plant

Joint venture to build and operate a new expandable polystyrene plant in Romania; plant is expected to start operations by late 2009 with a 100 kiloton annual capacity.

FRIBOURG, Switzerland — Ineos Nova, a joint venture company partly owned by Canadian-American plastics producer Nova Chemicals Corp. has struck a deal with Seea Polymers to build and operate a new expandable polystyrene plant in Romania.
 
The companies said Tuesday the proposed 50-50 joint venture plant is expected to start operations by late 2009 and will have an annual capacity of 100 kilotons.
 
''This new plant will be located in the heart of one of the highest growth areas for (expandable polystyrene, or EPS) in the world,'' said Martin Pugh, European managing director for Ineos Nova. ''We expect this plant to manufacture a full range of products and be the lowest cost producer of EPS in Europe.''
 
Florin Andrei, CEO of Romanian-based Seea Polymers, said ''we believe the combination will enable the new joint venture to quickly establish leadership in the region.''
 
Growth rates for EPS consumption in southeastern Europe are projected to continue to be more than 10 per cent a year. The proposed plant will be on a site owned by Seea Polymers in Medgidia, Romania, near the Black Sea. The location will enable the new plant to enjoy reliable, low-cost raw material supply.
 
Expanded polystyrene has excellent insulation is used in a number of industrial applications, mainly as a protective packaging for consumer electronics and white good appliances such as stoves, washers and refrigerators. It is also used to package fish and other foodstuffs and in making seed trays for the gardening industry.
 
Following completion of final market and capital plans, the two companies expect to finalize a binding agreement by the end of the first quarter of 2008.
 
Ineos Nova is a joint venture company owned by Europe's Ineos, a major plastics producer, and Nova Chemical, one of North America's largest petrochemical companies, with major operations in Alberta, southwestern Ontario and in the United States.
 
In trading Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Nova Chemicals shares fell 58 cents to C$31.86, a drop of nearly 1.8 percent.
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