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Cabot announces $180 million in expansion projects

Last week, Cabot Corp. announced plans to invest more than US$180 million to expand its carbon black capacity in China, Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina by the end of 2013, as well as adding capacity at three facilities in Europe. The expansions will increase Cabot’s annual global carbon black output by about 15 percent, or more than 300,000 metric tons.

The Chinese expansion was detailed previously on this blog, and involves a joint venture with Risun Chemicals Company, Ltd. to build a 130,000 tonne/year plant in Xingtai City, Hebei Province.

Among the newly announced investments, expansions in Brazil and Argentina will increase Cabot’s capacity in that region by approximately 20 percent. In Indonesia, Cabot is increasing capacity by about 50 percent, through a newly announced expansion project in Cilegon, and a previously announced expansion in Merak.

Finally, in Europe, Cabot is preparing de-bottlenecking projects that will expand the company’s capacity by 10 percent. The company did not indicate which of its plants would be affected; it operates carbon black plants in the Czech Republic, France, Italy, and the Netherlands. Over the last several years, Cabot shut down plants in France and the United Kingdom. In the company’s press release, Dave Miller, Cabot executive vice president, indicated that the European projects were partly aimed at expanding grade mix. “With these new investments,” he said, “we’re taking action to help our customers grow anywhere in the world. We’re seeing our customers’ needs shift toward higher-performance grades of carbon black, especially in Europe. These investments will help address these needs.”

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