Investor Release

Strategic measures drive growth and profitability


Frankfurt, Germany

  • Capacity reduction strengthens North American polystyrene business
  • Styrolution expands offering for high-performance transparent specialties
  • A global commitment to secure sourcing options
  • Alignment with Styrolution's ‘Triple Shift' growth strategy

Frankfurt, Germany – February 25, 2014In order to further strengthen its polystyrene (PS) business in North America, Styrolution today announced it plans to consolidate PS capacity in the region. In addition, Styrolution will accelerate growth in styrenic specialties through an expansion of its offering for high-performance transparent styrenics, by providing local supply in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Part of Styrolution's Triple Shift growth strategy, these measures will further enhance the company's position as the global leader in styrenics.

Key points:

  • Capacity reduction strengthens North American polystyrene business: In order to strengthen the long-term economic sustainability of Styrolution's polystyrene business in North America, the company plans to mothball its PS plant located in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts by the end of the year. This comes following years of overcapacity in the North American polystyrene market which have also impacted Styrolution, making it necessary for the company to take action to secure this business for the future. The plant accounts for 150,000 t (330 million pounds) of PS production capacity. The mothballing would affect 58 employees currently working at the site. Polystyrene remains a core business for the company. The much improved cost structures resulting from this measure will help strengthen its position long-term. The company will continue to serve the North American PS market from its best-in-class plants in Decatur and Channahon, USA and Altamira, Mexico with the same quality, reliability and delivery standards customers have come to expect from Styrolution.
  • Styrolution expands offering for high-performance transparent specialties: 

    Delivering local supply of transparent specialties in EMEA
    By the end of third quarter of 2014, Styrolution will commence production of high-performance transparent specialty, NAS (SMMA) at the company's plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Currently, NAS is supplied to the EMEA region from Indian Orchard and compounded locally into the transparent product Zylar. In addition to local supply, customers will also benefit from dedicated service teams that offer expertise in selected focus industries, technical support, regulatory services and certifications.

    NAS to be produced at Decatur, Alabama site
    Styrolution plans to shift NAS production from Indian Orchard, Massachusetts to its site in Decatur, Alabama where the company will convert a general purpose polystyrene line into a swing line to also produce NAS. The Decatur site's modern infrastructure, excellent rail and road access, and proximity to commercial shipping lines on the Tennessee River will offer customers continued supply reliability. The transfer of NAS production from Indian Orchard to Decatur is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter, 2014.

  • A strong commitment to secure supply options: Styrolution is committed to providing customers additional supply options for both specialty and standard products from at least two sites. Offering local supply of NAS and Zylar in EMEA and the Americas is one of several expanded supply options announced over the past 18 months. These options include availability of Luran S grades from Styrolution's Ulsan, South Korea,  Altamira, Mexico and Ludwigshafen sites; AMSAN-based, high-heat (HH) products, such as Luran HH and Novodur HH grades from the company's sites in Altamira  and Ludwigshafen; and a proposed joint venture with Braskem to produce ABS and SAN specialties in Brazil.

  • Alignment with Styrolution's Triple Shift growth strategy: Styrolution's Triple Shift growth strategy, calls for a focus on styrenic specialties and Standard ABS, emerging markets and higher-growth industries. The initiatives announced today strengthen Styrolution's global position in styrenic specialties while improving production efficiencies for polystyrene in North America. 

Key quotes:

  • Roberto Gualdoni, CEO, Styrolution: "As the market leader in styrenics, we aim to be a trusted value partner to our customers globally. In today's highly competitive business environment, this is made possible through measures like those announced today as part of the rollout of our Triple Shift growth strategy. The actions we are taking in our North America polystyrene production network will further strengthen this core pillar of our business. With the addition of NAS production in EMEA, customers across the world will benefit from secure access to the broadest portfolio of transparent specialties on the market, which underscores our commitment to growing our specialties business."
  • Alexander Glueck, President Americas, Styrolution: "The steps we are taking today align capacities with market needs and support our value approach to standard products like polystyrene. Polystyrene is and will continue to remain a core pillar of our business. This optimization of our cost structures for polystyrene in North America will help Styrolution secure its long-term position as the world's leading polystyrene supplier."

Key products mentioned in this announcement:

  • NAS grades are Styrolution's transparent styrene methyl methacrylate copolymers (SMMA): These grades are used in a variety of applications demanding a strong, stiff, water-clear plastic resin with excellent thermal stability. Main benefits include: sparkling clarity, low density, high flowability and alcohol resistance. NAS products fulfill U.S. Pharmacopeia requirements (USP Class VI), ISO 10993 biocompatibility testing, and comply with U.S. FDA and E.U. food contact regulations. They are used in applications ranging from medical devices and housewares, to packaging and electronic devices. 
  • Zylar grades are transparent methyl methacrylate butadiene styrene copolymers (MBS): Zylar is a compound based on NAS and Styrolux. It is the trade name for a range of impact modified styrene acrylic copolymers that provide medium to high toughness, good clarity and easier processing for demanding injection molded applications. The primary benefits are a high optical quality, excellent impact strength, good resistance to alcohol, washing and cleaning agents, as well as an outstanding flowability. Zylar products fulfill U.S. Pharmacopeia requirements (USP Class VI), ISO 10993 biocompatibility testing, and comply with U.S. FDA and E.U. food contact regulations. They are used in applications ranging from medical devices and housewares, to housings and cosmetics packaging.
  • Styrolution® PS  resins include general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and impact modified polystyrene (HIPS): GPPS grades are transparent polymers suitable for injection molding or extrusion applications. Uses for these products vary from food packaging or household appliances to diagnostic labware and XPS insulation. HIPS resins can be found in products ranging from yoghurt cups to refrigerator liners.