LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany (Dec. 6)—BASF A.G. will expand annual capacity for the polyurethane raw material MDI at its Antwerp, Belgium, plant by 25 percent to 450,000 metric tons by mid-2005.
BASF said the new capacity will meet increasing demand for methylenediphenyl diisocyanate in Europe and help supply the growing Asian market. The cost of the project was not disclosed.
"The European and global polyurethanes markets are developing even more positively than we expected," said Reinhard Leppkes, head of BASF's Polyurethanes Regional Business Unit Europe. "For the coming 10 years in Europe, we expect annual growth of about 5 percent."
Europe's MDI market—including the Middle East and Africa—has reached a volume of 1.3 million tons, with double-digit growth in 2003 and 2004, BASF said.
This is BASF's third MDI expansion of the Antwerp factory. At the beginning of 2003, it expanded the facility 39 percent to 320,000 tons and then optimized the process to boost capacity 12 percent to 360,000 tons.