Croda to Close Wilton Plant


Croda International said it plans to cease production at its Wilton, U.K., site at the end of January 2010 because of Dows plans to close a nearby ethylene oxide and glycol plant that same month.

Dow said the Wilton plant is the only chemical site in the United Kingdom that produces ethylene oxide, a core raw material for the majority of products manufactured at Crodas Wilton plant.

We are still in the very early stages of implementation of the planned closure and do not expect to cease manufacturing until the end of this time, Peter Leader, procurement manager for Croda Europe Ltd., told customers in a July 24 letter. However, in the intervening period, product lines will be progressively transferred to other sites within the group.

In its interim report last week, Croda said it expects closing operations at Wilton to result in cash closure costs of about 13 million pounds (U.S. $22 million) and an asset write-off of 5 million pounds ($8.5 million). The plant has 125 employees.

Ethylene oxide is an intermediate used in production of ethylene glycol and other oxide derivatives such as glycol ethers, polyethylene glycol, polyether polyols, diethylene and triethylene glycols and ethanolamines. Dow had cited economic impacts from the global recession as the reason for closing its Wilton plant.

The North East Process Industry Cluster organization represents more than 500 chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and support companies across the North East England region. NEPIC CEO Stan Higgins in a statement last month noted that the closure of Dows ethylene oxide plant will have a wide ranging impact on the U.K. because companies will now have to import the raw materials for the wide variety of products that need ethylene oxide.

Large quantities of EO cannot be transported easily as it is a very hazardous material, Higgins explained. A recent study suggests that ceasing the manufacturing of EO in the U.K. would eventually impact on jobs locally and across the U.K. amounting to 500 direct jobs and 2,000 indirectly. The organization said it will be attempting to help employees affected by the Dow facilitys closure to find new employment in the coming months.

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