Azoty heads downstream with €74m PA6 plant launch

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Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydło at PA6 plant launch in Tarnów

Leading European chemicals company Grupa Azoty had its sights set on a more lucrative downstream future as it launched a second world scale polyamide 6 production plant at Tarnów, Poland.

Constructing Azoty’s €74.3m Polyamide Plant II with an 80,000 tpa capacity, is in line with the group’s strategy of balancing its output of the engineering plastic with its upstream intermediate caprolactam. 

The new plant, now set to start commercial production,  has created around 55 jobs, some filled by Azoty employees transferred from other group operations but many workers freshly recruited.

Azoty, based in Tarnów, established its first PA6 plant at Guben, Germany in the mid-1990s with an initial capacity of 22,700tpa and later in 2005, increased to 46,000tpa. The Polish group is now Europe’s fifth ranked integrated producer of PA6, an engineering plastic used widely in the automotive, textile, electronics and medical sectors.

The new Polish facility was formally inaugurated late last month by Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydło. She praised Azoty, owned in part by the Polish state, which she said typifies a government backed enterprise, “driving the Polish economy, investing, innovating and growing to become an increasingly significant player in European markets and worldwide”.

At the inauguration, Azoty group president Wojciech Wardacki stressed that with the launch, his company is no longer a supplier of caprolactam, but now focuses on polyamides and their downstream derivatives, allowing it to achieve higher margins.

“Polyamide Plant II is a unique project, as it is highly innovative and uses cutting-edge technologies. With the facility on stream, Grupa Azoty may develop further elements of the product chain and ensure closer integration of the Group’s companies in Tarnów, Puławy, and Guben, Germany,” he predicted.

Tarnów plant manufactures a range of high-grade PA6 under the trade names ‘Tarnamid’ and ‘Alphalon’ offering significant strength and high thermal and chemical resistance. Products are designed for use in extrusion and injection moulding processing. [329 wds]

Azoty has invested heavily in its Tarnów site in recent years. It completed a €33m granulation plant and has begun constructing a €17m Research and Development Centre there which is due to be finished in 2018. 

The group is also preparing for the launch of a €28m operation at Tarnów called a ‘modified plastics plant’, designed to add more highly-processed and high margin products to its range.

In the first half of 2017, Azoty benefited from buoyant plastics markets, exploiting favourable conditions in the polyamide segment. The group generated record high prices and margins which translated into EBITDA rising by more than €32m year on year, it reported.

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