The SISAS Group today;
Expansion in Belgium.
SISAS expands in the heart of a productive Europe.
In 1995 the SISAS Group bought its third site from a Belgian multinational company, which was added to the production sites of Pioltello-Rodano and Feluy. This third company, EUROFTAL, is located in Ostend. It produces liquid and flaked phthalic anhydride, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, dimethyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate. The total current capacity is 190,000 tonne/year, with great potential for further development. With this purchase the SISAS Group obtained two prestigious results: it has achieved the position of absolute world leader in phthalic anhydride with an installed capacity of 200,000 tonne/year and is also in position to widen its range of plasticizers. Also in 1995 NEOCHIM, a joint venture between SISAS and an important glycerine producer, was established. The new company, operating at the production site in Feluy, purifies raw glycerine, a co-product from the production of Sisoil E, the eco-fuel of the SISAS Group. The plant capacity is 20,000 tonne/year.
A new venture in maleic anhydride derivatives.
In 1996, it was decided to increase substantially the production of maleic anhydride at Feluy from 65,000 tonne/year to more than 300,000 tonne/year. This will be done in stages, with completion during 1999.
This investment will make the SISAS Group by far the world's largest manufacturer of maleic anhydride.
This investment plan has two specific goals. It is intended to increase the presence of maleic anhydride on the free market and, under the 'EURODIOL' name, to start with a new range of products: 1,4 butanediol (1,4 BDO), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), tetrahydrofuran (THF) and N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP).
Approximately 80% of existing capacity for these products uses the Reppe process based on acetylene. But EURODIOL is using a process newly developed in the Group's own research laboratories. This process starting with n-butane as the feedstock, given its technical features, has put the SISAS Group in the forefront in terms of competitiveness. The new plants, from start-up in the second half of 1997, reached a capacity of 106,000 tonne/year in '98. This will be increased to 212,000 tonne/year in 1999 and the extra capacity will incorporate a proprietary new process of hydrogenation direct from maleic anhydride without the intermediate esterification stage. The planned investment is approximately $300 milion. These derivatives represent a further decisive venture for SISAS on the world market. To manage this venture, a new company, SISAS INDUSTRIES S.A., was estabilished in early 1998 in Agno, near Lugano, Switzerland.
New expansion in Italy.
In 1997 the Group acquired CHEMIAL S.p.A., a $20 million turnover Italian company with a plant in CavagliÓ in the province of Biella. In addition to CHEMIAL' s consumption of certain materials produced by the SISAS Group such as phthalic anhydride, glycerine and acetic acid, there is also a mutual interest in the production of diethyl and dimethyl phthalate plasticizers which places the Group in a leading position in the European market. An additional benefit is CHEMIAL's existing downstream position which will provide an opportunity to enter into higher added value markets.
The achievements of the SISAS Group
Today the SISAS Group produces and markets a wide range of chemicals stretching from intermediates for resins and polymers to specialties and oleochemicals. It is the only manufacturer able to offer a comprehensive range of acids and anhydrides to the resin industry and is one of the two major producers of isophthalic acid, the other being a large multinational. It will soon be the largest producer of maleic anhydride in the world, a position it already enjoys in phthalic anhydride. It is also amongst the leading manufacturers of plasticizers and is a significant producer of maleic anhydride derivatives.