Soda Ash Solvay to Invest in Chinese Soda Ash Plant
Solvay and the Chinese soda ash producer Tianjin Soda Ash Plant have recently concluded an agreement under which Solvay will aquire a 30% share of Tianjin's facilities at Bin Hai for 16 million Euro (about US $22.8 million).
Solvay sees this aquisition as a first step onto the Chinese soda ahs market.. The 800,000 per year soda ash production at Bin Hai was recently constructed and is still in a start-up phase. It is expected to become fully operational by the middle of this year. From Bin Hai Solvay expects to commercialize 220,000 metric tons soda ash and 30,000 metric tons bicarbonate per year under its own brand name.
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 Solvay's soda ash plants which are based on the Solvay process, Tianjin 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.