Industry News

Solvay Completes Acquisition of GHARDA, after Mississippi Polymer Technologies: Expansion into Ultra High Performance Polymers in India & U.S.

Published on 2006-05-16. Author : SpecialChem

The Solvay group announces that it has successfully completed the acquisition of the Polymers Division of Gharda Chemicals in India. Earlier this year, Solvay finalized the acquisition of the US-based start-up company Mississippi Polymer Technologies (MPT). The two operations mark the expansion of Solvay into the upper - most sophisticated - segment of the specialty polymers business.

The acquisition of Gharda provides the Solvay Group with outstanding capabilities for the development, manufacturing, and marketing of a new range of specialty grades of ultra-performance polymers such as polyether ketone (PEEK), high-performance sulfone polymers, and related monomers. The Polymers Division of Gharda Chemicals, which has annual sales of more than USD 10 million, operates an R&D center and production plant in Panoli, Gujarat State. Mississippi Polymer Technologies, Inc. (MPT) is the creator of the PARMAX®, a line of transparent, self-reinforcing polymers, which represent an exciting advance in the mechanical properties of engineering thermoplastics.

"These acquisitions are essential milestones in Solvay's strategy of sustainable growth and geographic expansion at the top end of the plastics market " said Vincenzo Morici, General Manager, Strategic Business Unit Specialty Polymers. "We now have an unrivalled portfolio of high value specialty polymers as well as a strong foothold in one of the world's most dynamic economies," Morici explained

Solvay plans to manage both acquisitions within its Solvay Advanced Polymers, L.L.C. operating unit headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia. Additionally, Solvay will invest in Gharda Polymer's strategic location and develop it into a global center for the production of specialty polymers and other innovative materials. As a first step in this direction, Solvay Advanced Polymers is finalizing plans to expand PEEK production at the Panoli site as part of a broader push to establish a strong market position as a supplier of PEEK.

"With the addition of the talented people and assets of Gharda Polymers and MPT, we are able to provide our customers worldwide with the broadest range of high performance polymers solutions than any other supplier in the world," said Roger Kearns, president of Solvay Advanced Polymers.

SOLVAY ADVANCED POLYMERS is member of the Solvay Group.

SOLVAY is an international chemical and pharmaceutical Group with headquarters in Brussels. It employs some 30,000 people in 50 countries. In 2005 its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 8.6 billion generated by its three activity sectors: Chemicals, Plastics and Pharmaceuticals. SOLVAY is listed on the Euronext 100 index of top European companies.

GHARDA CHEMICALS, established in 1967, is a research-based company with three manufacturing units. The company has won several national awards in India for technical innovation in the chemical industry and has many firsts in the field of dyestuffs, pesticides, veterinary drugs and polymers.

Notes to the Editors:

The term polymer covers a large, diverse group of molecules, including substances ranging from proteins to high-performance materials. The polymers manufactured by the Solvay Group include plastics, elastomers and fluids. A polymer is a long chain of atoms, formed through the repetition of an identical molecule - called monomer. This repetition occurs during polymerization, in which many monomer molecules link to each other.

Ultra-high performance polymers are polymers having an extremely high performance profile in terms of thermal, mechanical, and chemical resistance. Such products are typically priced in excess of 50 Euros per kilogram and having annual demand generally in the order of hundreds to thousands of tons.

Amorphous Materials are materials that are comprised of molecules that are arranged in random fashion. With thermoplastics, an amorphous molecular structure often results in certain performance features including toughness, ductility, quite often transparency, and a resistance to warp and dimensional changes in items fabricated from the polymer.

Semi-Crystalline Materials are materials that are comprised of molecules that are arranged either partially or nearly completely in an ordered and structured fashion. With thermoplastics, semi-crystalline and crystalline molecular structures often result in certain performance features including high strength, high stiffness, and generally always opaque appearance.

PEEK is a generic acronym for polyetherether ketone, a class of semi-crystalline ultra-high performance thermoplastics.

Sulfones is a generic term for a family of amorphous high performance polymers based on dichlorodiphenyl sulfone monomer.

PARMAX® is a family of transparent amorphous materials that exhibit a unique combination of strength, stiffness and hardness. Chemical resistance for PARMAX® is comparable to semi-crystalline materials and is unsurpassed by any other transparent polymer.

Source: Solvay group

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