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Columbian Completes Hungarian Expansion

The Budapest Business Journal (citing MTI-Econews) is reporting that Columbian Tiszai Carbon has completed its expansion of its carbon black plant in Tiszaújváros in northeast Hungary. Columbian Tiszai Carbon is a subsidiary of US-based Columbian Chemical Company, the third largest carbon black producer in the world. According to Columbian Tiszai’s CEO, László Dobos, the expansion cost Ft. 7 billion (US$35 million) and raised capacity to 100,000 tonnes/year. Columbian Tiszai Carbon and its parent company covered most of the cost of the investment, but the unit was also awarded a Ft 400 million (US$2 milion) grant from the EU for the project.

Most of the plant’s output goes to tire markets, with the remainder going into rubber goods, plastics, and paint. Hungary is currently in the midst of a major expansion in its tire production capacity. Bridgestone completed construction on a new PC/LT tire plant in Tatabanya in 4Q 2007 and began tire production in 1Q 2008. This is the first Bridgestone plant in Europe to use the company’s BIRD tire-building technology. Hankook Tire opened a new PC/LT tire plant in Dunaujvaros in 2007, and the plant will be gradually scaled up to full capacity by 2010. Michelin produces tires in Hungary through Taurus Rubber, with plants in Budapest and Nyriegyhaza. With all of this activity, Apollo Tyres recently scrapped plans to build a new plant in Hungary by 2009. The company is investigating other sites for the plant. Even with the cancellation of the Apollo plant, Notch Consulting estimates in the Carbon Black World Data Book that carbon black demand in Hungary nearly doubled from 2006 to 2008, and demand will nearly triple through 2010 as this new tire capacity is ramped up.

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