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Solvay gets direct access to large Chinese soda ash market
10
Jun '11
Solvay announces that it has concluded an agreement with the Chinese soda ash producer Tianjin Soda Ash Plant under which Solvay will invest EUR 16 million in two steps to acquire a 30% participation in the soda ash plant built in Bin Hai near the city of Tianjin, China. Solvay will also provide guarantees on loans, bringing the total committed and invested amount to almost EUR 60 million.

The plant with a yearly capacity of 800,000 tons soda ash and related products such as bicarbonate and of 800,000 tons ammonium chloride is in the start-up phase. The plant in Bin Hai will be fully operational by the middle of this year. Solvay will commercialize yearly under its own brand name 220,000 metric tons soda ash and 30,000 metric tons bicarbonate.

“This investment will give Solvay a new access to the very large Chinese market and will enable Solvay to bring its knowhow as one of the world's longest standing soda ash producers to this fast growing country,” says Vincent De Cuyper, Group General Manager of the Chemicals Sector. “We can furthermore capitalize on the strengths of Tianjin Soda Ash Plant and its parent company Bohai Group to develop this joint venture into one of the strongest soda ash suppliers in China. This is a logical step in the expansion of Solvay's activities into China and complements the decision to locate the head office of Solvay's newly created Regional Business Unit Essential Chemicals Asia of the Solvay Group in Shanghai,” he adds.

In contrast to the Solvay soda ash plants which are based on the Solvay process, Tianjin Soda Ash plant uses an alternative production process developed by one of its famous employees, the Chinese chemist Hou Debang in the 1930s. This process does not generate calcium chloride as a byproduct, but ammonium chloride which is mainly used in the Chinese fertilizer market and also after refining for several technical end-uses. With this investment Solvay is adding a continent and one more process to its wide portfolio of soda ash production activities.

TIANJIN SODA ASH PLANT is one of the oldest chemical companies in China which was established almost a century ago in Tianjin. The company is a subsidiary of the Tianjin Bohai Chemical Industry Group and ranks among the leading Chinese producers of soda ash.

SOLVAY is an international industrial Group active in Chemistry. It offers a broad range of products and solutions that contribute to improving quality of life. The Group is headquartered in Brussels and employs about 16,800 people in 40 countries. In 2010, its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 7.1 billion.

SOLVAY

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