Ineos Styrolution – Styrenic Solutions

INEOS is a relatively young company, but thanks to the way in which the company has been constructed to include a number of independent divisions, each of them have gone a long way.

We learn how Ineos Styrolution is growing and developing for the future.

INEOS is a very young chemical company, about 21 years old. But in those 21 years, it has already become a top-four, world-wide chemical company. It’s a very entrepreneurial group that has developed and grown via acquisition and organic growth. INEOS is privately-owned, privately-held and their primary owner, Jim Ratcliffe, has constructed it as a federation of different companies. It doesn’t have the typical large overhead structure. Each division runs on its own within this federation style.

Warren works within INEOS Styrolution, the leading, global styrenics supplier with a focus on styrene monomer, polystyrene, ABS standard and styrenic specialities.
“I work within INEOS Styrolution, it’s a global styrenic company. We produce a large portfolio of styrenic polymers,” Warren explains. ” We’re the largest styrenics producer in the world with production in all three major regions of the planet, with the same products available in each region.”

The company runs world-class production facilities and has built itself a world-class reputation by helping its customers succeed through solutions designed to give them a competitive edge
across a range of markets. INEOS Styrolution provides styrenic applications for products in every facet of life, from cars to electronics, to household goods, even construction and healthcare.

Indeed, Warren puts the company’s success down to a combination of their unique business structure and the wide array of markets that they serve, especially in an increasingly international marketplace.
“Our global structure, coordination and quick decisionmaking process make us an effective partner for customers across the world as globalisation increases and the world becomes smaller,” he says. “If you produce something in one region, you can also produce it in another region. Our customers can buy identical materials globally, but produced locally. We have a broad portfolio
of styrenic polymers. If one product doesn’t work, our customers can choose from a broad portfolio in our toolbox. We have everything from general products like polystyrene, to very specialised
products like the weatherable ASA polymers and many different transparent polymers. We have the products to meet our customers’ needs, whether it be packaging, healthcare or automotive.”

The company is also constantly growing and developing. As we speak with Warren, we discover INEOS Styrolution is beginning a whole new chapter of their history – one that brings opportunities
and new challenges. “One of our challenges is consuming all this heritage capacity we’ve had, and now we’re looking to build a new plant,” Warren says. “We’re building our very first plant as a company – an ASA plant in Texas. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this project!”

It’s an exciting time to be in the styrenics sector as well, with the industry undergoing big changes to show how the materials can be part of a sustainable materials solution. This includes demonstrating how ASA can provide lighter car components, allowing cars to use less fuel, as well as showing how styrenics can be part of a circular economy. “All the while we’ll be keeping
this focus on styrenics as a sustainable solution,” Warren says. “We have numerous activities in sustainability, heading towards circularity in plastics. We want to close the loop for plastics, not just for growth, but also as a key strategic pillar in sustainability.

For example, we invest heavily in recycling solutions for styrenics. As a matter of fact, as we speak, we are making the first ABS materials available to our customers that contain up to 70 per cent of recycled postconsumer waste. And – even better – the new materials match the property profile of its nonrecycled counterpart.”

INEOS Styrolution views sustainability as a major factor in the future success of the company. Warren shows that sustainability and environmental factors are firmly integrated into all of INEOS
Styrolution’s decision-making processes. The company strongly believes that sustainable business management and practices will contribute to its leading position in the market.

To complete a project of this scale and ambition you need the right resources, the right technology and the right people. Fortunately, these are all resources INEOS has in abundance.

“To build the new ASA plant, we’ve created a very focused team,” Warren says. “We’re hiring the best and brightest people to tackle the project and make it happen. This plant uses our own technology, not technology we’re licencing from someone else, so we’re building up our own expertise and technology, taking features from around the world and adding them into the facility.
And now we begin the phase of construction.”

It’s a thorough process, but also a long one, and Warren emphasises the importance of being patient with the process. When searching for the people to make up this team, Warren says recruitment efforts start at home. “We look internally first to the best people we have and utilise our internal talents from a longer perspective on the project itself,” he says. “If we need to, we
bring in subject matter experts from around the world to bring their knowledge into our design process. We also need real people in the Texas area to build this plant. So, we’ve leaned on
our internal network as well to help us recruit and retain people, and leaned on our internal culture to retain those people.”
“Our culture is a key advantage,” Warren says, “It is one of entrepreneurial spirit with a flat management structure, and speedy decision making. This helps people feel empowered and valued and really creates that sense of ownership of the project.”

The team and their facilities are growing, and for Warren, the new Texas plant is merely emblematic of the large-scale growth and development he foresees for the company.
“For a styrenics company like ours it’s an exciting time, we’re expanding our own capacity while investing in acquisitions as well,” he says. “In 2017, we acquired the K-resin business from Chevron Philips Chemicals. Just recently, we acquired two polystyrene plants in China. In addition, we have the ASA plant that we’re building in Texas and we’re planning on building a new styrene plant in the US. I see us continuing to expand on our leadership position.”

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