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Arkema declares force majeure on PVC and caustic soda

November 29/2011

LONDON (ICIS) -- Frances Arkema has declared force majeure on its chlor-alkali and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production, following strike-related shutdowns at several sites, a company source said on Tuesday.
The force majeure on PVC was declared last week and has now been extended to its chlor-alkali products, including caustic soda, the source said.

Its a disaster for us and we have no knowledge of when production will resume, the source added.
The strikes were triggered by last weeks announcement that Arkema will sell its vinyl business to Switzerland-based investment group Klesch in order for Arkema to focus on its industrial chemicals and performance products segments.
The electrolysis units in Fos and Lavera, in southern France, were shut as a result, the source said.
In addition, production at the Jarrie site has stopped because of a chlorine leak associated with start-up problems, following an unplanned shutdown in October, the company said on a statement on 28 November.

There is no material available from the Jarrie site, while the company is only able to provide 50% of its regular quantities from Fos and Lavera. Its plant in St Auban consumes most of its product internally.

The companys total nameplate capacity for caustic soda is 850,000 tonnes/year, according to the source. Among its plants, Lavera is the largest.
The European caustic market remains balanced to tight. Although demand has weakened over the past two weeks, scarce availability and production outages have continue to tighten the market.
Most local producers remain out of the spot market and only able to meet their contractual obligations.

Perspectives of development of the polymers markets, pricing issues and other important aspects will be discussed at The Polymers Summit-2011, which will be held in Moscow on November 30, 2011 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. The Summit is organized by MRC with the support of ICIS. The main idea of the Summit is to find a "the golden mean" between producers and converters. When producers receive exactly such margin of production, which helps them to invest in production expansion in order to substitute polymers imports, and the converters receive such price of feedstock that helps them to compete imported finished products. The Summit site gives an access to the live video of the Summit, speakers" presentations, as well as opportunities to ask questions or make appointments to any Summit partcipant.

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