By Liz White, ERJ staff
Houston, Texas-Kraton Polymers is increasing its capacity for Kraton G thermoplastic elastomers in Belpre, Ohio, and Berre, France, by nearly 10 kilotonnes a year.
The group said the move is in response to â€œrising demand from customers in the adhesives, compounding, packaging, and polymer modification sectors.â€
Kraton's additional capacity for these high-performance styrene-ethylenebutylene-styrene and styrene-ethylenepropylene-styrene grades of block copolymer will come from debottlenecking. A series of low-cost capital investments â€œwill primarily allow capacity growth to support the global growth in our important market segments,â€ the company said.
Separately the Houston-headquartered group announced total sales for 2004 of $807.4 million, a 15 percent rise over the previous year. The group's figures show a net loss for the year of nearly $34 million, versus a net 2003 profit of just under $8 million.
The group's results statement stressed pressure on earnings from high raw materials costs and said it was responding with price increases for its products.
Sales volumes over the year rose by 22 kt to 346 kt, increasing revenue by $46 million, Kraton added.