BERWYN, Pa.—Styron L.L.C. soon will have a new name and start adding styrene-butadiene latex capacity in China.
Styron said it will significantly boost its styrene-butadiene latex capacity with the addition of a production unit in Zhangjiagang, China, that primarily will serve the growing paper and paper board industry in the country.
The company, which was established in June 2010, also said it will change its name to Trinseo to better position the firm for future growth. The change will be effective in all countries it serves later in 2011, it said. Until then it will continue to do business as Styron.
The firm is expected to begin construction on the new line in China later in 2011, a spokesman said, and probably commence production in the fourth quarter of 2012. The unit will be located adjacent to the company's existing operation in Zhangjiagang. Financial details weren't disclosed.
Styron currently produces latex and polystyrene at the site. The latex is used in paper coating and carpet backing while polystyrene is needed in packaging, housewares and appliances, the spokesman said.
The firm also produces a variety of other products and technologies, he said.
The addition at the Zhangjiagang site follows the company's tradition of remaining close to its customers to help them develop the next generation of products, said Marco Levi, vice president of emulsion polymers.
The expanded operation will complement Styron's other latex production facilities in Australia, South Korea and Indonesia. Styron operates 20 plants globally and employs about 2,100.
Overall, Levi said, Styron is a global leader in the development of styrene-butadiene latex technologies, and it offers “a wide range of custom-engineered solutions that improve end-use properties of paper and paperboard and flooring.”
Zhangjiagang was the ideal location for Berwyn-headquartered Styron's expansion because the company has been operating there since 2002 and the new facility will benefit from “its strategic location, local resources, employees and community support,” according to President and CEO Chris Pappas.
Production from the new line is primarily earmarked for Asia, a top priority region for the company “both in terms of meeting existing customer needs and in terms of expanding our capabilities and investment as the market grows,” the spokesman said.
Currently, nearly 20 percent of Styron's business is in Asia, with China being a high-priority market. About 70 percent of the firm's business is in Europe but it is gaining ground steadily in Asia, he said.
The need for SB latex is growing globally, the spokesman said, and after a period of stabilization in mature markets, the U.S. and Europe have been recovering since 2009. “The most spectacular growth, however, comes from Asia, mainly driven by the paper market. The China market continues to show tremendous growth and we see increasing demand from Styron's China customers in the paper coating and related industries.”
He said the global materials company, which had sales in the $5 billion range in 2010, plans to grow further in the Asia-Pacific region by partnering with customers and providing quality service.
But it's also looking to enhance its growth through investment opportunities and select acquisitions, with much of its focus concentrated on the Asia-Pacific region.
The addition in China is the second expansion the company—created when Bain Capital purchased the Styron Division of Dow Chemical Co. in mid-2010—has made thus far this year. In January it said it will spend about $125 million to add a 50,000-metric-tons-per-year line for solution styrene-butadiene rubber at its Schkopau, Germany, facility.
Construction is slated to begin in May and be completed by the fourth quarter.
Concerning its name change, Styron elected to rechristen the business because “we believe that the new name of Trinseo will position the company for future growth and greater potential as a global materials company,” Pappas said. “The name Styron is strongly tied to the styrenics chain—particularly polystyrene and styrene monomer, which are an important part of our company—but we are much more than that.
“Our new name Trinseo will communicate that we are leaders in a broader range of businesses, products and technologies, and it underscores our commitment to growth.”
Once the company officially makes the name change later this year, it said, Styron will continue to be used as a trade name for polystyrene products.