Ineos steps into Asia phenol with purchase of Mitsui’s Singapore plants

Article by Adam Duckett

INEOS has bought Mitsui Chemicals’ phenol production plants in Singapore for US$330m.

The plants on Singapore’s Jurong Island produce 410,000 t/y of cumene, 310,000 t/y of phenol, 185,000 t/y of acetone, 20,000 t/y of alpha-methylstyrene, and 150,000 t/y of bisphenol A. The purchase provides Ineos Phenol its first foothold in Asia and the company says the acquired production will complement its existing manufacturing in Belgium, Germany, and the US. The 120 staff employed by the business have now joined Ineos Phenol, the company said.

Cumene is a feedstock for the production of phenol, acetone, alpha-methyl styrene and bisphenol A which are used in the production of polycarbonate, plastics, phenolic resins, synthetic fibres, and solvents. These in turn are used in a range of end-market applications including cars, construction, electronics, and healthcare. Worldwide phenol demand was around 12m t in 2022. The phenol market is largely driven by demand for bisphenol A, which accounts for around half of phenol consumption. Asia leads the demand for phenol, representing more than half of total consumption, according to data from the S&P Global’s Chemical Economics Handbook.

Mitsui will continue to produce phenol output at its Osaka and Ichihara plants in Japan, and its Shanghai site in China. It says the sale of its Singapore assets is part of wider restructuring efforts brought about by its 2030 long-term business plan, which includes a commitment to contribute to the circular economy.  

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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