2005 – Lucite International28

 

What’s new

Lucite International appoints partner for new Singapore plant

 

Lucite International, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of acrylic products and owner of the renowned Lucite® and Perspex® brands, has appointed Foster Wheeler Energy Limited as the engineering contractor for its’ new Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) manufacturing facility in Singapore. The 120kte plant will use Lucite International’s proprietary Alpha technology and will be commissioned in 2008.

 

Alpha technology offers significant economic and environmental benefits over conventional manufacturing routes, and is set to revolutionise the production cost-base for MMA, the essential building block for acrylic.

Speaking from the Company’s UK research centre where Alpha was developed, Neil Sayers, VP for Manufacturing, Technology and SHE comments: “Foster Wheeler is one of the world’s biggest and most respected engineering and construction contractors. Their long experience of working in Singapore combined with strong design facilities in both the UK and locally in Singapore make them the ideal partner for Lucite International in this ground-breaking new plant we are building.”

Detailed design and development work for the new plant is well under way and construction is expected to commence in June 2006. The Singapore plant is the first in a series of Alpha-based facilities planned by the Company. The new operations will progress in scale – the second is planned to come on stream in 2011 and will have a capacity of 250kte. These new technology plants will complement Lucite International’s existing facilities in China, the USA, Europe and Taiwan. The Company supplies around 25% of the total volume of MMA and is committed to a strategy for global growth.

Price rise and a firm commitment to a strategy of re-investment

 

The price of Lucite®, the leading brand of sanitary-ware cast acrylic, will rise by (Euro)130/tonne from 1 January 2006. This increase is necessary to support the Company’s strategy to re-invest in the long-term development of the business and is a direct response to the high levels of raw material and utility prices that are set to continue into 2006. The new pricing applies to customers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EMEA).

 

Paul Henderson, VP of Lucite International EMEA comments: “We have built a robust global business in the sanitary-ware sector based on strong customer relationships and our ability to supply them locally with consistently high quality, innovative products and services. Our customers in this dynamic marketplace look to us for inspired new developments that will add value to their businesses and we are absolutely committed to continue to deliver in this respect.

“As a direct consequence of absorbing higher costs since 2003, our margins have been severely eroded such that re-investment is currently unjustifiable. We began cost readjustment in July 2005 and committed to review the situation after six-months. Unfortunately volatility of oil prices continues with forecasts of ca. $62/barrel into 2006; consequently, a further adjustment is now critical for us to restore margins to the minimum acceptable levels. We also recognise that we have a responsibility to ensure that we remain at the forefront of cost learning and continue to absorb inflation and drive down costs in real terms in order to minimise the impact on our customers.”

Lucite International opens the first world-scale Methyl Methacrylate plant in China

 

Lucite International, owner of the world-renowned Lucite® and Perspex® brands and a global leader in the innovation, design and manufacture of acrylic based products announces the opening of its Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) plant in China. The new facility, located 70km south of Shanghai in Caojing, was completed ahead of schedule, and is now available at full capacity to meet customer needs. Lucite International (China) Chemical Industry Ltd (LIC) will be opened at an official ceremony attended by the Lucite International Board of Directors, LIC customers, suppliers and local dignitaries on 25 October 2005.

 

The plant’s current capacity is 100 kte of MMA per annum with opportunities to expand to 150 kte as demand grows. Lucite International’s new facility will strengthen its market leadership position and support its established blue-chip customer base in Asia while attracting new partners for developing opportunities.

James Gu, General Manager of LIC comments: “Being the largest, most cost-effective MMA producer gives LIC a massive edge in the world’s fastest growing market. Our challenge is to continue to lead this market responsibly and safely, helping our customers to innovate and grow profitably with us. As a local producer, LIC can provide rapid service both in terms of reliable, high-performing, consistent materials and expert market and technical know-how. We have a young and highly professional team with the ambition and drive to succeed.”

Lucite International has a heritage of technical and manufacturing excellence and is proud of its world-class safety record. During the construction of the China plant, 1.61 million man-hours were worked without an injury. David Henniker, Project Manager comments: “We worked very closely with our Taiwanese EPC Contractor, CTCI throughout the design, procurement, construction and commissioning phases. This partnership was essential to delivering safe, robust plant on time in China. But having the support of our own highly experienced global team was a huge benefit and helped us to achieve our aims ahead of time.”

LIC’s strategic location near to Shanghai will provide significant benefits. In addition to the efficient logistics and transportation systems at Caojing site, LIC is positioned at the heart of China’s rapid economic growth. Downstream markets for acrylic are forecast to continue to achieve double-digit growth. The forthcoming Beijing Olympics in 2008, the World Exhibition in 2010 and the planned Disney Garden in Shanghai in 2012 are excellent examples of the market dynamism and opportunities that LIC is positioned to support.

Lucite International Assumes Operation of DuPont’s Beaumont, Texas Acrylonitrile Facility

 

Lucite to Invest in the Facility and Gain Access to DuPont’s HCN Technology

Lucite International, the world’s largest producer of methacrylates, today announced it has entered into an agreement with DuPont to operate the company’s Acrylonitrile (AN) and Site Services facilities in Beaumont, Texas. As part of the agreement, Lucite will also invest in expanding the Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) capabilities at the Beaumont facility. By expanding HCN production in Beaumont, Lucite will also be able to reduce expenses associated with shipping HCN from Lucite’s Memphis facility to the facility in Beaumont.

 

“This move clearly represents a win/win situation for both companies,”said Jeff Davis, president, Lucite International, Inc. “This agreement will allow Lucite to enhance its competitive position in the U.S. market by improving efficiencies while at the same time allowing DuPont to continue to service its customer base. We look forward to a successful relationship under this new agreement.”

The parties anticipate that Lucite will take over operations October 31, 2005. Financial terms were not disclosed. Under the agreement, Lucite International will employ most of the employees currently working in the Acrylonitrile and Sites Services units of the Beaumont facility.

About Methacrylates, AN, and HCN

Methacrylates are the foundation for a wide range of acrylic products and are used in applications from coatings, appliances, electronics, adhesives, corporate imaging, through to baths, spas, kitchen work surfaces and construction.

Acrylic combines the unique properties of durability, weatherability, UV and scratch resistance with benefits such as light performance, optical clarity, shape and form, and color flexibility.

The Acrylonitrile (AN) process generates HCN, or hydrogen cyanide, as a by product which is a building block in the production of Methacrylates.

Lucite International to Build New Technology Plant in Singapore

 

Lucite International, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of acrylic products and owner of the renowned Lucite ® and Perspex® brands, announces today that it is to build a 120kT manufacturing facility in Singapore using its innovative and proprietary Alpha Technology. The plant, scheduled for completion at the end of 2007, will produce methyl methacrylate – the basic building block of the acrylic industry.

 

The Alpha process, developed by Lucite International for over 10 years at its research centre in the UK, offers economic and environmental benefits over existing manufacturing routes and utilises novel catalyst systems also developed by Lucite International.

The search for a suitable location for this “First in Class” production facility has taken over a year with many high quality sites being considered across the World. Singapore was finally chosen because of the established and vibrant nature of its chemical industry, the availability of high quality and well trained staff, proximity to the Asian market and the ongoing support of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Detailed design work for the new plant has begun and, subject to satisfactory conclusion of commercial agreements, construction will commence in June 2006. On completion the Singapore plant will join others operated by the Lucite International Group located in the US, UK, Taiwan and a new plant coming on stream in China. Lucite International is the world’s leading producer of methyl methacrylate supplying around 25% of the global volume.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Ian Lambert, Chief Executive of Lucite International, said: “Singapore offers a number of clear advantages to fast growing chemical companies like Lucite International and represents an excellent location to progress our novel Alpha Technology through the commercial phase of its development.”

Mr Teo Ming-Kian, Chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board, said: “We warmly welcome Lucite International’s decision on Singapore. This is a strong vote of confidence in Singapore’s attractiveness as a global hub for chemicals and highlights the capability of our workforce in helping to bring a new technology to market.”

Enquiries: Lucite International

Ian Lambert, Chief Executive +44 (0) 2380 248 150 Ian.lambert@lucite.com

Financial Dynamics David Yates +44 (0) 207 831 3113 David.yates@fd.com

Mitsubishi Rayon and Lucite International Announce Manufacturing Collaboration

 

Mitsubishi Rayon Group (MRC), Asia’s largest manufacturer of methacrylate (MMA) products, and Lucite International (Lucite), the world’s leading supplier of MMA, today announce that they have agreed to enter into a collaboration for the construction and mutual supply of product from new MMA manufacturing capacity to be built in Singapore and the USA.

 

Under the terms of the agreement, a total of 260kte of new capacity is planned to come on stream over the next four years, with a new plant in Singapore being built by Lucite and completed by the end of 2007 and a plant in the US being constructed by MRC and due for completion by the end of 2009. Each party will supply the other with products from the new facilities, enabling improved service and supply to be provided to their customers on a global basis.

Global demand for acrylic products manufactured from MMA is growing rapidly fuelled by economic growth and the development of new technologies and products. In response to this demand, both Lucite and MRC have already independently announced the construction of new manufacturing capacity in China, with Lucite currently commissioning a 100kte plant in Shanghai and MRC constructing a new 90kte facility in China due for completion next year.

Ian Lambert, Chief Executive of Lucite, added: “The new capacity planned by our two groups creates an opportunity to share investment and production, enabling us to deliver cost efficiencies to our customers and allowing us to become even more responsive to their requirements. We believe there will be significant benefits for both companies’ customers as these plants come on stream.”

Enquiries:

Mitsubishi Rayon Group koho@mrc.co.jp

Lucite International Ian Lambert, Chief Executive 00 44 2380 248150

Financial Dynamics David Yates 00 44 207 831 3113

Notes to Editors

About Lucite International

Lucite International, owner of the world renowned Lucite® and Perspex® brands and a leader in the innovation, design and manufacture of acrylic based products, is a global manufacturer and marketer of Methacrylates – the main building block of acrylic, which it either sells direct as monomer or transforms into acrylic-based products made under three further product groupings: specialties, resins and polymer and sheet and composite materials. Customers convert these into a diverse range of consumer, architectural, high-tech and medical products. Lucite is the world’s leading supplier of Methyl Methacrylate, with around 25% of the world market by volume and the capacity to produce 1.9 billion Ibs (850 ktes) per annum of acrylic products. The Company has an annual turnover of over $1.2 billion and employs a workforce of 2000 people serving customers in more than 100 countries worldwide.

About Mitsubishi Rayon Group

The Mitsubishi Rayon Group is the largest manufacturer of methacrylate products in Asia, and provides integrated production system from monomer and polymer to processed products (moulding materials, sheets, paint resins, etc.) in Thailand, China and Japan. The construction of a new MMA plant in North America is among the major projects in the fifth medium-term management plan covering the period FY 2005-2007, announced in April 2005.

Lucite® is committed to a strategy for re-investment

 

Lucite International, the world’s largest producer of Methyl Methacrylate (MMA), will increase the price of Lucite®, its leading brand of cast acrylic for sanitary ware, by (Euro)170 per tonne for all despatches made from 1 July 2005. The price increase applies to Lucite’s customers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East and is a necessary response to the continuing high levels of raw material and utility prices in the first half of 2005. Higher input costs have continued to erode the Company’s margins for its acrylic sheet to a point where an adjustment is now critical. Lucite must recover its margins, which have been eroded as a consequence of a protracted period of strong raw material costs in order to attract re-investment for the long-term.

 

Paul Henderson, Vice President of Lucite International in Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EMEA) comments: “Lucite International has built a strong global business for its sanitary ware products, which remain at the core of the Company’s strategy for future growth. We are absolutely committed to delivering competitive advantage through our products and services and to supporting the growth and development of the bathroom industry.” He continues: “We place a very high value on the business that we do together with our customers. This increase is essential for our margin recovery plan, which will enable us to continue re-investment in the broader Lucite® offer and to address the challenges of this dynamic market place.”

Lucite International has a strong track record of providing value and service on the back of consistently high quality products. The Company’s growing portfolio of Lucite®-based product solutions continue to inspire the bathroom industry and are seen increasingly in some of the world’s most innovative and stylish branded products. Last year, Lucite International launched a new website, www.lucitesolutions.com featuring the entire product portfolio together with a unique ‘solutions finder’ tool. It is just one example of Lucite International’s determination to lead with new ideas that generate value.

Being responsive to market dynamics is critically important for Lucite International and with demand for MMA growing faster than supply, the Company is constantly seeking new efficiencies. Its’ Manufacturing Excellence programme continues to deliver production optimisation – many sites have already moved to three-yearly overhauls as opposed to the industry norm of every two years. Costs have been taken out of the business through rationalisation across all functions, purchasing improvements and a consolidation of logistics.

To view the new Lucite Solutions website click here.

Lucite International grows profits 22nd fastest in the UK

 

The Sunday Times PriceWaterhouseCoopers Profit Track 100 was announced on 10th April and Lucite International was amongst the top companies in the UK for growing profits.

 

By supplying a quarter of the world’s Methyl Methacrylate (the building block for acrylics) it has grown the business to its position as one of the most profitable companies in the UK. It had profits for 2003 of £70.2 million, which was a growth of 79.37 per cent over the three years, 2000 to 2003. This made it the 22nd fastest growing private companies in the UK and 5th in the South East of England.

Lucite International is the owner of the Perspex® and Lucite® brands and the global manufacturer of the building block for acrylics used in end products as varied as resins, paints, adhesives, displays, signage, baths, sinks and showers.

The ranking it has gained in the national league table of Britain’s one hundred private companies with the fastest-growing profits is a testament to the company’s success in its markets around the world, comments Ian Lambert, CEO of Lucite International. “Since founding in 1999 we have seen a double digit growth each year thanks to our people, our products and our processes. We have nearly 2,000 employees over all our sites serving our customers in over 100 countries. We look forward to continuing our success in innovative product development and manufacture and gaining this accolade many times again in the future.”

Perspex® from Lucite® unveils new Lenticular sheet

 

Lenticularpix(main)

 

Lucite International has launched a new acrylic sheet, called Perspex® from Lucite, Lenticular, in conjunction with a new and exciting product for 3D signs, Solid Vision.

 

Perspex® Lenticular is a specially developed extruded acrylic sheet, which is used to create Solid Vision – a product which uses a new concept in computer software technology and graphic imagery to produce fascinating new 3D images. This innovative product solution is set to revolutionise the retail, POP/POS, street furniture and outdoor advertising sectors.

Perspex® Lenticular has optical grade lenses or lenticules, running parallel throughout the length of the sheet, which when placed onto a specially produced graphic, digitally enhanced to contain multiple images of the same subject, creates a unique 3D image which has a depth and intensity never before seen in this type of application.

The critical catalyst in the whole process was Dr Graham Street, MD of Solid Vision Ltd, who saw a huge opportunity in this area and used his extensive experience of 3D technology to develop the Solid Vision concept, which uses a sophisticated computer software program to refract each “slice” of the digital image through the lenses in the Perspex® Lenticular sheet.

The new software is vital – because each individual sheet of Perspex® Lenticular has its own unique configuration of lenses – almost like a fingerprint – and the software adjusts the image, refracted optically through each individual lens to perfect the 3D image to new levels of realism.

The thickness of the Perspex® Lenticular sheet – 6.8mm including the graphic – adds to the depth and intensity of the image, yet is still slim enough to fit into a standard back-lit sign box. And Solid Vision signs can be custom made to suit most requirements or bought in standard sign sizes “off the shelf”.

Solid Vision has been the result of a long collaboration between the Lucite® business and Solid Vision Ltd – a collaboration which promises to add a whole new dimension to signs.

Preliminary Results Announcement 2004

 

2004highlights(main)

 

Lucite International, owner of the world-renowned Lucite® and Perspex® brands and a global leader in the innovation, design and manufacture of acrylic based products, today announces its results for the year ended 31 December 2004.

 

Highlights

  • Strong performance despite challenging raw material prices
  • Record levels of production
  • Increase in sales and EBITDA in US dollars
  • Construction of new 100kte Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) plant in China on schedule for completion mid 2005
  • Choice of location for first world scale, new low cost technology ‘Alpha’ plant being finalised. Design for first plant now underway targeting 2007 completion.

Commenting on the results Ian Lambert, Chief Executive, said:

“Following the improvements in productivity, output and earnings in 2003, Lucite International achieved further volume growth and investment in 2004, with constant dollar sales and EBITDA rising 14% and 10% respectively. Strong cash generation during the year has enabled us to further reduce our debt and we have made excellent progress on our new world scale facility in China. In 2005 the business is looking forward to the start-up of these new facilities and initial investment in another plant based on our revolutionary new, low-cost Alpha technology.”

Further information:

Lucite International

Ian Lambert, Chief Executive 02380 248150

Annie Veerman, Chief Financial Officer 02380 248150

Financial Dynamics David Yates 020 7831 3113

Lucite® shows stunning solutions at Euroshop

 

Euroshopstand(main)

 

Absolutely stunning! – that was the verdict on the Lucite® stand at Euroshop – Europe’s leading retail exhibition.

 

The stand was a masterpiece of contemporary design and exciting concepts, which made extensive use of Perspex® from Lucite® acrylic sheet, in a wide range of exciting colours and finishes- in particular in a feature back wall and throughout the stand which featured a dramatic and contemporary colour scheme which reinforced the new Lucite® brand and identity.

The key message on the stand was that Lucite® has a range of solutions for all POP, advertising and shop fitting needs- and with the many innovative products and solutions in the Lucite® portfolio, the Lucite® stand was full of interesting and exciting ideas – many being exhibited for the first time at the show.

Lucite® launched Perspex® Fluorescent Anti-Reflective – a fabulous new material that combines the exciting live edge effect of Perspex® Fluorescent with a soft sheer surface texture on both sides of the sheet, which aroused great interest from the many shop fitters and POS manufacturers who visited the stand.

Lucite® also unveiled for the first time ever an entirely new acrylic sheet- Perspex® from Lucite® Lenticular, used to create Solid Vision, a new 3D sign product that is set to revolutionize the retail, POP/POS, street furniture and outdoor advertising sectors – the Solid Vision sign on the stand looked so realistic it was hard to believe that it is was actually a sign.

“The stand was truly inspiring “comments Marie-Helene Caseau, European marketing manager for Lucite® ” and I was particularly impressed with the interest shown in the exciting new products we launched at the show”.

Other innovative solutions on the Lucite® stand included Lucite® Diakon® which was used in to make beautifully illuminated lighting tubes and a series of case studies which highlighted some of the many Lucite® solutions used throughout the retail sector – with leading names such as BP and cutting edge designers such as BoBo Designs showing how they have been inspired by Lucite® solutions.

For further product specific news from Europe clickhere.