Brussels, April 28, 2016 --- Solvay is to suspend until further notice the production of soda ash at its plant in Alexandria, Egypt, as sharply higher energy costs have undermined the plant’s profitability. Customers will be served from Solvay’s other soda ash plants.
Production of quicklime will continue at the Alexandria site, with good prospects in the region including in construction. Quicklime, also known as calcium oxide, is used in steel, pulp and paper and gold mining.
Solvay aims to minimize the impact of this temporary decision on its employees. Measures include seeking alternative uses for this conveniently located industrial platform.
The decision to mothball production will result in an asset impairment of about €90 million, after tax, to be booked in Solvay's first-quarter 2016 results.
The soda ash plant’s profitability has been declining since 2014 when a gas price increase of 2.5 times outweighed Solvay’s continuous efforts to improve production performance through lower energy consumption and increased operational efficiency.
An international chemical and advanced materials company, Solvay assists its customers in innovating, developing and delivering high-value, sustainable products and solutions which consume less energy and reduce CO2 emissions, optimize the use of resources and improve the quality of life. Solvay serves diversified global end markets, including automotive and aerospace, consumer goods and healthcare, energy and environment, electricity and electronics, building and construction as well as industrial applications. Solvay is headquartered in Brussels with about 30,900 employees spread across 53 countries. It generated pro forma net sales of € 12.4 bn in 2015, with 90% made from activities where it ranks among the world’s top 3 players. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on Euronext in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB:BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR).
Solvay’s Soda Ash & Derivatives Global Business Unit is a world leader in its sector, producing soda ash serving the glass, detergent and chemical markets and developing solutions based on sodium bicarbonate and trona serving the healthcare, food, animal feed, and flue gas cleaning markets. SA&D has 12 industrial sites worldwide, more than 3,500 employees and serves 90 countries.