25 Jan 06
Huntsman, BASF and Chinese companies consider construction of new MDI plant in China

• Plant to have world-scale capacity of 400,000 metric tons/year crude MDI
• Startup of new MDI plant planned from 2010 onward
• Several sites being evaluated
• MDI project in Caojing progressing as scheduled

Huntsman, BASF and a group of Chinese companies – Shanghai Hua Yi (Group Company), Sinopec Shanghai Gao Qiao Petrochemical Corporation and Shanghai Chloro-Alkali Chemical Co. Ltd – are considering the construction of a new MDI (diphenylmethane diisocyanate) plant in China to meet growing demand for this product. Several sites for the plant are being evaluated. The startup is planned from 2010 onward, and the plant is expected to have a capacity of 400,000 metric tons per year of crude MDI, to be sold and marketed separately by Huntsman and BASF.

“The market for polyurethanes in China is growing at double-digit rates and this is expected to continue well into the next decade" says Tony Hankins, President of Huntsman's Polyurethanes division. "We are a leading player in this dynamic market and the proposed investment will complement our new MDI facility in Caojing, strengthening our ability to serve customers through local production".

MDI is an important precursor in the manufacture of polyurethanes – versatile polymers that are used in the automotive and construction industries, in appliances such as refrigerators, and for footwear.

As part of Huntsman’s investment strategy for the Chinese market, an integrated isocyanates complex is currently under construction at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park in Caojing. This project is progressing as scheduled, and is expected to begin commercial production by mid-2006. The complex is also a production joint venture between Huntsman, BASF and the same group of Chinese companies mentioned above. It will have a capacity of 240,000 metric tons per year of crude MDI. The total cost for the complex is about $1 billion.

Huntsman is a global m anufacturer and marketer of differentiated and commodity chemicals. Its operating companies manufacture basic products for a variety of global industries including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, textiles, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging. Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging, and later, rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman today has 11,300 employees, 57 operations in 22 countries and had 2004 revenues of $11.5 billion.

Statements in this release that are not historical are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management's current beliefs and expectations. The forward-looking statements in this release are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances and involve risks and uncertainties that may affect the company's operations, markets, products, services, prices and other factors as discussed in the Huntsman companies' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Significant risks and uncertainties may relate to, but are not limited to, financial, economic, competitive, environmental, political, legal, regulatory and technological factors. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the company's expectations will be realized. The company assumes no obligation to provide revisions to any forward-looking statements should circumstances change, except as otherwise required by securities and other applicable laws. 

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