Dow Moves Forward with Expansion Plans for Cellulosics
Midland, MI - March 28, 2006, The Dow Chemical Company continues to make progress with its plans to increase cellulosics capacity at production facilities in Midland, Michigan; Plaquemine, Louisiana and Stade, Germany. As announced in March 2005, the expansions will enable an additional 20,000 metric tons of METHOCEL™ cellulose ethers to be produced. This multi-phase expansion plan focuses on Dow’s continued global leadership and commitment to the industrial and premium marketplace for water soluble polymers.
The first phase involves de-bottlenecking of current production capabilities at Dow’s Stade, Germany facility. This phase is currently underway and will be completed in 2006. This is the second recent expansion at the Stade facility, with a full new train brought on-stream in early 2003.
Dow’s North American facilities are the focus of the second phase of the project, with the first expansion in Midland. The equivalent of a full-train expansion will be achieved by installation of new post reactor processing equipment through optimization of our current assets. This project has received support for state and local tax incentives to move forward on an aggressive schedule for start-up in 2007. Expansion in Plaquemine will follow the Midland project and will include the first North American train capable of manufacturing hydroxyethyl methyl cellulose (HEMC), a functional polymer supporting our commitment to the construction industry. Dow is anticipating the Plaquemine facility start-up to occur in 2008.
Marty Kollmeyer, global business director for METHOCEL™ cellulosics products at Dow, comments, "Dow’s strategy is to invest in opportunities that will strengthen the Company’s position in key growth economies around the globe and will enable us to grow our business with strategic customers and in strategic markets. Global demand for methyl cellulosics has been growing at an average of about 6 percent per year. These actions are consistent with our strategy to invest in our cellulosics business and maintain our historical leadership position by growing in all market segments on a global basis.
A global expansion of this magnitude is a significant investment to ensure we can meet our customers’ needs. Based on continued demand strength across all industries, including construction - the largest - we feel it is critical to further develop our facilities and leverage new technologies. These expansions will also enhance our capability to provide even more specialized and premium products needed for the food and pharmaceutical businesses as well as the ability to participate in emerging new applications for these multi-functional polymers"
Dow MC and HPMC products, known as METHOCEL™ cellulose ethers, are used in a wide variety of industries and applications, including tile grouts and mortars, tape joint compounds, plasters, paper coatings, resins and catalytic converters. Specialized Food grades and Premium grades are used respectively as functional food ingredients and in the pharmaceutical industry as tablet coatings and in controlled release formulations. For additional information about METHOCEL™ cellulose ethers from Dow, please visit www.methocel.com.
Dow is a diversified chemical company that harnesses the power of science and technology to improve living daily. The Company offers a broad range of innovative products and services to customers in more than 175 countries, helping them to provide everything from fresh water, food and pharmaceuticals to paints, packaging and personal care products. Built on a commitment to its principles of sustainability, Dow has annual sales of $46 billion and employs 42,000 people worldwide. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted.
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