BASF will invest in a world-scale production site for acrylic acid, butyl acrylate and superabsorbent polymers (SAP) in Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil. It will be the first acrylic acid and superabsorbents plant in South America. With an investment volume of more than €500 million, it is the largest investment in BASF’s century-long history in South America.
In addition, BASF will start to produce 2-ethyl-hexyl acrylate, an important raw material for the adhesives and special coatings industries, in its existing chemical complex in Guaratinguetá, São Paulo. This will be the first plant for this product in South America.
With the new acrylic acid complex, BASF aims to ensure the supply for important products as superabsorbents for diapers, acrylic resins for coatings, textiles and adhesives and products for civil construction.
“BASF is the global and regional leader in the acrylic value chain. Due to the strong growth in Brazil, the time has come for this important investment. It will further strengthen our position and underlines our confidence in the development of the South American market,” said Dr. Stefan Marcinowski, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE.
“This project reinforces the importance of the region for BASF, ensuring the supply of our products to our customers in South America and contributing to the development of the country,” said Dr. Alfred Hackenberger, president of BASF South America.
The Camaçari location is being chosen based on the availability of raw materials (propylene) and utilities provided by Braskem S.A., the major chemical company in Brazil and the strategic supplier for BASF in this project.
“The contract with BASF will bring benefits to the whole acrylic acid value chain, not only because of the production capacity of the project and the size of the investment, but also because of the best-in-class technology available. Above this, the complex will generate new important investments to Camaçari, attracting new manufacturing companies to Bahia State,” said Carlos Fadigas, president of Braskem.
The construction of the new acrylic acid complex will start in 2011 employing about 1,000 individuals during construction. Production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2014, generating 230 direct and 600 indirect jobs. The production for 2-ethyl-hexyl acrylate in Guaratinguetá is expected to start in 2015 on the basis of acrylic acid produced in Camaçari.
“We expect the investment to bring a very positive impact of about $300 million per year on the trade balance of the country, thereof $200 million through reducing imports and $100 million through increasing exports,” said Dr. Hackenberger.
Acrylic acid is an important precursor in the value chain of superabsorbent polymers, the active component of baby diapers and other hygiene products. Acrylic esters, the most important derivatives of acrylic acid, are used to produce adhesive raw materials, construction chemicals and architectural coatings such as Suvinil, BASF’s decorative coatings brand in South America and the leader in the premium segment in Brazil.