Infineum Moves to Rationalize Plants


Infineum International Ltd. announced Monday that it is expanding a plant in Berre, France to produce detergents for marine lubricants.

Officials described the detergents as proprietary new products designed for use in trunk piston engine oils and cylinder oils. They added that marine lubes are a growing market for the company. Detergents control and minimize deposits.

The Milton, U.K.-based additive company also said it plans to close operations in Campana, Argentina, and Baytown, Texas, while expanding plants in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Bayway, N.J.

The Campana and Rio plants make a variety of finished packages used primarily in crankcase lubricants. Officials said the consolidation would position the company for long-term growth and optimum cost structure in Latin America. In Baytown, the company is closing a polybutene unit that is on an Exxon Chemical site and that has produced 70,000 tons of PIB per year. The company plans minor projects to increase PIB capacity at Bayway but declined to disclose details.

The plant actions were announced as part of an investment plan that includes a new enterprise resource planning system and e-commerce initiatives. Officials said the plan reflects follow-through on a strategy – announced when Exxon and the Royal Dutch/Shell Group formed Infineum as a joint venture in 1999 – to reduce costs through plant rationalization and develop differentiated products.

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