Huntsman to exit European surfactants with plant closure, business sale

The performance products division of Huntsman plans to close its commodity surfactants plant in Patrica, Italy, the company announced on Thursday.

It is expected that all site activities will cease by the end of October 2014.

Last October, the company stated that it was transitioning away from a number of surfactant assets and product lines in Europe that had become commoditized and would focus instead on developing and growing the remaining differentiated surfactants businesses in Huntsman’s chosen strategic markets.

Huntsman has also signed an agreement to sell its European commodity surfactant business to Wilmar International, which includes Huntsman’s ethoxylation facility at Lavera, France, and additional sulphated chemicals capacity from two of Huntsman’s other European surfactant plants in St. Mihiel, France and Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy.

That deal is expected to close in about three months, subject to completion of national regulatory procedures.

“We regret to announce this planned closure of Patrica but the increasing lack of profitability of this site’s products together with the absence of an appropriate buyer has left us with no choice," said Stu Monteith, president of Huntsman’s performance products. "We very much regret the impact on the site’s 74 employees but we are committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect and to provide support.”

Huntsman will now be entering into the consultation process with employee representatives and regulatory authorities. A detailed transition plan is being put in place for customers and suppliers.

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