Ferro Corporation (the “Company”) today announced that it will add significantly to its plasticizer product offerings by installing new dibenzoates production capability at its operations in Antwerp, Belgium.
The Antwerp project is designed to provide annual production capacity of 28,000 metric tons of dibenzoates, a non-phthalate, fast-fusing plasticizer. Production at the facility is expected to begin in the second half of 2014.
The Company expects to significantly strengthen its market position through this project, offering high-performance plasticizers for a broad range of markets and applications to customers preferring a non-phthalate solution. Ferro maintains one of the most comprehensive plasticizer application laboratories in Europe at its Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium, facility. The project will leverage these laboratory capabilities, allowing customers from across the continent to optimize their products using Ferro’s additives.
Ferro further announced that this project includes installation of technologies to produce benzoic acid, which will allow Ferro to be fully backward-integrated into this key raw material at the Antwerp facility. The dibenzoate product offerings will complement Ferro’s existing Santicizer® family of benzyl phthalate plasticizers, which Ferro will continue to provide to the market.
Commenting on the project, Peter Thomas, Ferro’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We continue to vigorously execute on our strategy to create value for Ferro shareholders by divesting non-core assets, reducing costs, and pursuing high-return growth investments. This opportunity illustrates our commitment to invest in growth projects and expand into adjacencies that we believe will drive higher levels of cash flow and value for our shareholders. We are pleased with the opportunity that this project represents for our customers and the Company. This is an important enhancement to our core technology capabilities and advances Ferro’s participation in attractive markets requiring eco-friendly materials solutions.”