SGL has confirmed that the company may buy automaker BMW out of their carbon fiber joint venture.
The news emerged in a Euro am Sonntag interview with SGL CEO Jürgen Köhler where he said, “I assume that BMW does not want to become a maker of carbon fiber. For us, carbon fiber is a core element of our strategy and an essential part of the value chain. The takeover could be an option,” Köhler said.
SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers (ACF) was founded in 2009. SGL owns 51% while BMW holds the rest. The JV has production sites at Moses Lake, Washington; and Wackersdorf, Germany. The Moses Lake carbon fibers will be processed into lightweight carbon fiber fabrics at the JV’s site at Wackersdorf. SGL also has a wholly owned carbon fiber manufacturing plant at Muir of Ord, United Kingdom.
Earlier this year SGL announced plans to concentrate carbon fiber manufacturing operations at two global sites: Moses Lake and Muir of Ord. A smaller facility at Evanston, Wyoming, has been sold to Mitsubishi Rayon.
The carbon fibers from both sites are used in the company’s entire product chain, in composite materials and components for the automotive, wind energy, and aerospace industry. The Moses Lake facility is the largest heavy tow carbon fiber plant in the world. At Muir of Ord, meanwhile, the company produces heavy tow via oxidized fibers, short cut fibers, and other materials.
Separately, SGL’s current focus is on the divestment of its former core business performance products. In October, SGL signed an agreement to sell its graphite electrode business to Showa Denko. A sales agreement for cathodes, furnace linings, and carbon electrodes business is expected to be reached this year.
By Natasha Alperowicz
Source: Chemical Week
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