Covestro Investeert 300 Miljoen Euro in Antwerpse Haven
2018-11-02    [Source:Everchem]

“The German chemical company Covestro is building a new factory in the port of Antwerp for the production of aniline, a building block for insulation materials.

The start-up of the factory is scheduled for 2022. How many additional jobs the investment yields is still unclear. For the Antwerp chemicals cluster, it is the third major announcement in a few weeks. This month, Borealis announced that it would allocate 1 billion euros for the construction of a new propylene plant. Nippon Shokubai opened a new production line for superabsorbent polymers (diaper filling) that same day.

Covestro is now investing in an expansion of aniline production. This is a building block for MDI, which in turn is a basic raw material for polyurethane foam. This foam, for example, finds its way into insulation materials for buildings and for refrigerators. Last year, MDI was still in the spotlight because a shortage of the goods caused huge price spikes and delays at many construction sites. Recticel, which processes polyurethane in insulation and mattresses, also saw its profit margin collapse.

Crucial role

Covestro is known as the inventor of polyurethane and has been number one in that market for 80 years. ‘Antwerp plays a crucial role in Covestro’s production network’, according to a press release. At the same time, Covestro is also expanding its MDI plant in Spain, while expansion plans are also on the table in the US and China. These investments are necessary to keep up with market growth. ‘The MDI market will grow by 5 percent per year in the long term’, it sounds.
Covestro was created in 2015 when Bayer split off its chemical division. The company has a market value of more than 10 billion euros and has a thousand employees in Belgium.

World Cup football

In Antwerp, Covestro also produces polycarbonate grains. This is a plastic that can withstand high temperatures and has applications in cars (panoramic roofs, headlamps), smartphones (window for flashlight function), and dialysis filters. In Tielt the company makes polycarbonate sheets for traktor windows, carports and cockpit aircraft.

Covestro also developed the football for the past World Cup in Russia with Adidas. The layer of polyurethane provides, among other things, the necessary elasticity so that the ball quickly takes back its perfect round shape in a staircase.”

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