BASF to Shut Polystyrene Plant

Effective June 30, 2009, BASF will close one polystyrene plant at the Ludwigshafen site. This will reduce BASF's annual production capacity for the standard plastic polystyrene in Europe by 80,000 to 540,000 metric tons, what comes up to a capacity reduction of about 15 percent.

The main reason for the shutdown is the decrease in demand for Polystyrene. The affected plant, which has been out of operation since mid-April, will be dismantled. Personnel working at this plant will transfer to other positions within the company.

Polystyrene will continue to be produced by BASF in Ludwigshafen but it will serve primarily for the manufacture of the two BASF insulation products Styrodur C and Neopor (extrusion-based). In the future, orders for Polystyrene from European customers who had previously been supplied from Ludwigshafen will be filled mainly from the plant at BASF's Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium.

"We are working intensively to restructure our Styrenics business and increase its profitability. In doing so, we are investigating all options in order to strengthen the business on a sustainable basis. This also includes reducing production capacities. We nevertheless still intend to sell this business," explained Dr. Joachim Streu, head of BASF's Styrenics business.

Polystyrene (PS) is a standard plastic in BASF's Styrenics product line. It is employed in the packaging industry, for refrigerator linings and also as a housing material for numerous house­hold and office products. Within BASF, Polystyrene is further processed into insulating materials such as the green foam panels Styrodur C (XPS: extruded polystyrene) and the extrusion-based foam precursor Neopor (EPS: expandable polystyrene).

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