LyondellBasell Industries has acquired full ownership of recycling plants in the Netherlands and Belgium for an undisclosed price.
Houston-based LBI had owned half of Quality Circular Polymers BV in a 50-50 joint venture with Veolia Environment SA of France. In a news release, LBI officials said that with full ownership of QCP, the firm "is progressing its strategy to build a profitable circular and low carbon solutions business [and] to meet customer demand for more sustainable products and solutions."
The QCP mechanical recycling plants make blends using household plastic waste. Those recycled materials are used to make items such as bottles, buckets, caps and closures as well as strollers and suitcases. LyondellBasell will continue to offer QCP polymers under its Circulen Recover brand, with QCP as its growth platform to enable circular solutions.
Veolia is a major plastics recycler with almost 200 sorting centers and 40 recycling and compounding plants worldwide. The firm annually delivers more than 1 billion pounds of circular polymers to thousands of customers.
LBI also recently reported first-quarter financial results. The firm's sales for the quarter were down 22 percent to a little less than $10.3 billion vs. the year-ago period, with profit down 64 percent to $474 million. LBI's quarterly profit was impacted by an impairment charge for its Advanced Polymer Solutions unit.
First-quarter sales in LBI's Olefins & Polyolefins-Americas unit — including polyethylene and polypropylene resins — were down 25 percent to $2.8 billion, with operating income down 51 percent to $371 million. LBI's APS unit, including North America's largest compounding business, saw quarterly sales fall 12 percent to just under $1 billion. That unit showed an operating loss of $247 million for the quarter, after having operating profit of $38 million in the first quarter of 2022.
For sales volume in pounds, O&P-Americas had PE volumes drop 5 percent to nearly 1.7 billion pounds in the quarter, with PP sales volumes down 8 percent to 550 million pounds. Quarterly sales volumes at APS were down 5 percent to 843 million pounds.
Looking ahead, CEO Peter Vanacker said that LBI "remains focused on delivering our strategy to grow and upgrade our core businesses, build a profitable Circular & Low Carbon Solutions business and step up our performance and culture."
"We believe the combination of these strategic moves will capture significant value by positioning [LBI] as the leading investment in our industry with a more profitable and sustainable growth engine," he added.
On Wall Street, LBI's per-share stock price was up more than 3 percent to almost $95 in early trading April 28. That price is up 13 percent from the start of 2023.