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Trinseo Eyes More Shutdowns to Balance Books

Having reported a loss of $349 million on sales of $963 million in three months to June 2023, polycarbonate (PC), styrenic, and acrylic (PMMA) resin supplier Trinseo is eyeing further plant closures as part of a restructuring plan that has garnered management team approval. The closures affect the following operations:

  • The Bronderslev, Denmark, plant that makes PMMA cast sheets;
  • PMMA extruded sheet production line in Rho, Italy;
  • batch polyester tray casting plant in Belen, NM.

The potential closure of the Terneuzen, Netherlands, styrene plant is pending final approval from the board. The plan also entails non-manufacturing job cuts in order to streamline general and administrative operations. Trinseo said most of the restructuring plan should be completed by the end of 2024.

Previously announced shutdowns and consolidations

In December 2022, Trinseo announced that it was shuttering its styrene production facility in Boehlen, Germany, and shutting down a PC production line in Stade, Germany. It also said that it would consolidate PMMA sheet manufacturing in Matamoros, Mexico, at the Aristech Surfaces production line in Florence, KY, and reduce styrene-butadiene (SB) latex capacity at its site in Hamina, Finland.

Trinseo acquired Arkema’s PMMA business in May 2021. The company’s existing PMMA offerings serve several end markets including automotive, building and construction, medical, and consumer electronics.

One area where sales held up last quarter was automotive, which is part of the company’s Plastics Solutions business. This business unit was adversely affected by the PC sheet line shutdown as well as sales of copolymers for building and construction, industrial, and consumer durables applications.

No innovation deficit

Despite the negative news on the financial front, Trinseo continues to innovate in the auto and other sectors. Recently, the supplier introduced an engineered continuous cast acrylic capped sheet specifically developed as a more durable material replacement for exterior panels in recreational and other vehicles in the mobility sector.

Veremeev/iStock via Getty Imagestractors
Induro acrylic capped sheet is equally at home on the highway and the farm.

The material, dubbed Induro, offers significant advantages over alternate exterior panel materials, such as gel coatings and fiberglass, by enhancing aesthetics, performance, and processability. It performs well in demanding environments due to the inherent weather and UV resistance of acrylic. In comparison to gel coat and fiber-reinforced polyester, Induro is said to enable a hydrocarbon-, emission-free production method and streamlines part processing because of the repeatable, consistent caliper thickness throughout the full width of the sheet.

Multi-year development yields Induro material

“Induro provides manufacturers the ability to deliver a long-lasting finish to their customers. The material is used for the largest and most visible parts of a vehicle and offers exceptional gloss, chemical/scratch resistance, weatherability, and color fastness,” said Trinseo’s Michel Brendel, vice president of Global Engineered Surfaces. “These are key performance properties required for vehicles such as boats, agricultural equipment, and trailers that are regularly exposed to weather extremes.”

The result of a multi-year development project, Induro meets the needs of manufacturers who are looking for a more durable material. It is uniformly pigmented, providing a more stable and less UV-sensitive color than traditional materials, and is available in custom colors. The unique non-fading and non-yellowing characteristics of acrylic make Induro a long-lasting finish solution for harsh environments, said Trinseo. The multi-layer finish reportedly also provides better resistance to chalking, caused when a surface finish degrades due to extreme weather conditions. Induro is also easy to repair with a simple blending technique, added Trinseo.

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