February 15, 2007
Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corp.

Styrene monomer line to be closed
Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corp. (AKC) is scheduled to close a 150,000 ton/year styrene monomer (SM) line at its Mizushima plant complex in October 2007.

AKC currently operates three SM lines in Mizushima, with a total capacity of 840,000 tons/year:  the line to be closed, Line No. 1, which started operation in 1968; Line No. 2, a 300,000 ton/year line whose output will be raised by 20,000 tons/year in October 2007; and Line No. 3, which employs advanced process technology and was expanded from its original capacity of 330,000 tons/year at start-up in February 2004 to 390,000 tons/year in March 2006.

The closure of the small-scale Line No. 1 and high-rate operation of Line No. 2 and Line No. 3 with a combined capacity of 710,000 tons/year will enhance cost competitiveness and strengthen the operating configuration, enabling increased profitability.

AKC is also studying the prospects for reinforcing its SM operations with additional capacity, as sustained demand growth is forecast in Northeast Asia.  Final determination for any such capacity addition will be made in consideration of the effect on the market of large-scale SM plant start-ups in the Middle East beginning in 2008.  A wide range of options is being evaluated, including both domestic and overseas locations, either as an independent project or together with other companies.

Outline of SM line closure
Site: AKC Mizushima plant complex, Okayama, Japan
Capacity: 150,000 tons/year
Schedule: At the maintenance turnaround in October 2007

AKC SM production capacity
Current: 840,000 tons/year in three lines of 150,000, 300,000, and 390,000 tons/year
After October 2007: 710,000 tons/year in two lines of 320,000 and 390,000 tons/year


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