Huntsman, Sasol To Expand German Plant

Chemical maker and Sasol Ltd. plan to expand the joint venture's maleic anhydride production site in Moers, Germany.

THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) -- Chemical maker Huntsman Corp. said Wednesday its joint venture with Sasol Ltd. successfully completed negotiation of project financing, which will be used to expand the joint venture's maleic anhydride production site in Moers, Germany.

The expansion will increase yearly capacity of maleic anhydride -- a chemical used to make resins for use in the housing, automotive and marine industries -- to 105,000 tons from 60,000 tons by adding a second world scale reactor. The chemical is also used in motor oil additives, artificial sweetners, hair sprays, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products.

The new reactor and other major equipment is already on order, detailed engineering is under way and the contract has been awarded. Basic engineering and site preparation were completed early last year. The company has scheduled the start up of the new unit for the first quarter of 2011.

Huntsman also plans to start up a 45,000 ton maleic anhydride plant in Geismar, La. in April 2009. The company said its global developments will increase Huntsman's total global maleic anhydride capacity from139,000 tons to 207,000 tons per year.

"Maleic anhydride is a strategic growth product for Huntsman," said Huntsman Vice President Tom Fisher.

"We continue to expand our worldwide presence in this important product, both through joint ventures - as we are doing with Sasol in Germany - and in our wholly owned plants in North America - as we are doing by adding our new site in Geismar to complement our existing production in Pensacola," Fisher said.

Shares of Huntsman gained 16 cents, or 5.6 percent, to $3, in morning trading.

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