Penrice Soda Holdings Ltd of Australia has announced plans to cease synthetic soda ash production at its Osborne, Adelaide chemical facility in June 2013. The decision follows a strategic review precipitated by difficult conditions in its domestic market. The company says the market is facing pressure from cheap imports, a strong Australian dollar, lower international shipping costs, increasing energy and labor costs, higher taxes, and increasing regulatory compliance costs. Penrice has signed a memorandum of understanding with SASS Victoria Pty Ltd to form a joint venture to import and market soda ash in Australia. SASS is a subsidiary of Soda Ash Holding BV, the worlds largest independent distributor of soda ash, reselling over one million tonnes per year. The joint venture will source its soda ash from American Natural Soda Ash Corp (ANSAC). ANSAC comprises three member companies: Tata Chemicals North America, FMC Wyoming, and OCI Wyoming. Penrice proposes to transfer its soda ash sales to the joint venture, switching from supplying its customers with its own soda ash to the joint venture supplying those customers with imported soda ash from ANSAC. The company will continue to operate the Osborne plant as a sodium bicarbonate and quicklime manufacturing facility.
Volume 27 issue 2