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Axiall says JV cracker with Lotte Chemical could come online late 2018

HOUSTON, May 5, 2016 (PCW) -– Axiall on Thursday said its joint-venture ethane cracker with Lotte Chemical could come online as soon as late 2018.

Speaking during an earnings call with analysts, CEO Timothy Mann Jr said construction of the plant is on budget. “We look forward to the completion of this project as early as late 2018 and certainly in early 2019,” he added.

Ethylene production capacity at the Lake Charles plant will be about 1 million mt/yr (2.2 billion lb/yr).

Capital expenditures in the first quarter of the year amounted to $57.3 million, up from the $35.1 million seen in 1Q 2015. About $9.5 million of this increase was due to the JV cracker.

On the ongoing hostile takeover bid from Westlake Chemical, Mann said: “We were very disappointed with the public and hostile tact that they have chosen and with where our negotiation with Westlake now stands.”

Axiall earlier this week said it was now talking to other third parties for the sale of parts, or all, of its business.

Still, Mann insisted: “We have not, of course, decided to sell Axiall at this time, and we can't be sure whether any party will make a proposal for a strategic transaction that we can support as being fair.”

Axiall on Thursday reported net 1Q loss of $53.6 million, lower than the $10.6 million net loss seen in 1Q 2015, due to weaker caustic soda and vinyls prices. -- Samantha Hartke

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