By David Reed, UT EditorFlorham Park, New Jersey-BASF Group is selling its polystyrene business in the United States and Canada, including its Joliet, Illinois, production facility, to INEOS Americas, llc, the North American subsidiary of INEOS, an international chemical company headquartered in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom.The sale of the business is part of BASF’s successful implementation of its North American restructuring programme, the firm said in a 26 April statement.The transaction requires approval by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Financial details were not disclosed. Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor to BASF in this transaction.As part of the agreement, about 140 BASF employees will transfer to INEOS. This includes the Joliet workforce, and management, sales and marketing people from various locations.The Joliet polystyrene facility has a total capacity of about 385 kilotonnes per annum and produces general-purpose polystyrene and high-impact polystyrene grades.BASF says it remains committed to the polystyrene business on a global scale, and will continue to manufacture and sell the material in other regions.”The Joliet site is no longer consistent with BASF’s site integration strategy,” said Fred Baumgartner, Global President of Styrenics for BASF. “While we are committed to our remaining styrenics portfolio in North America, the sale of this business is another major step in our process of realigning the global styrenics business to ensure long-term profitable growth.”BASF says it is the second-largest supplier of polystyrene in the world, and was the fourth largest producer of polystyrene in the United States and Canada.The company has sold polystyrene in the region continuously since 1992, when the company purchased the Joliet facility from Mobil Chemical.”INEOS continues to seek acquisition opportunities in the chemical and polymer business, typically from major chemical corporations which combine excellent people, assets and market positions. The BASF US and Canadian polystyrene business, which includes the second largest US facility at Joliet, meets all of these criteria and we look forward to welcoming the employees to INEOS,” said Andy Currie, director, INEOS Capital Ltd.INEOS is a rapidly growing global manufacturer of speciality and intermediate chemicals and polymers. It comprises seven businesses, each with a major chemical company heritage, and its production network includes 43 manufacturing facilities in 14 countries throughout the world. In 2004, INEOS had about 7000 employees and sales of more than $7000 million, the BASF statement concluded.”
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