BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany, is planning to invest €25 million (about US$30 million) in a state-of-the-art Superabsorbents Excellence Center at its Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium. The investment is a commitment to the company’s hygiene business as an important part of its acrylics value chain. The pilot plant will include the latest data collection and sensor technology to allow for a smooth, quick scaleup from the product development stage to production scale. The new site in Antwerp will become the hub for the company’s superabsorbents business, as the company will close its facility in Mannheim, Germany. The company cited unfavorable market development and a challenging cost structure as reasons for closing the Mannheim site. Production will shift from the old site once the Antwerp site’s production is scaled up. Affected employees will be offered new positions elsewhere in the company.

The multinational chemical company has subsidiaries and joint ventures in more than 80 countries and operates more than 390 production sites globally. (6-21)