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Arkema to likely shutdown R-134A fluorogas plant in France following regulatory changes

New regulation bans the use of the refrigerant in all new motor vehicles from January 1, 2017, in favour of more environmental friendly gases

| | Sep 19, 2016 | 12:41 pm
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Colombes, France: As regulatory changes affecting fluorinated gases for automotive air conditioning will take effect from January 1, 2017, in Europe, France-based Arkema has announced that it has decided to put forward to the Central Works Council a project for the closure of the R-134A fluorogas plant at its Pierre-Bénite site in France. The proposed closure, the announcement added, would not result in any redundancies.

The Pierre-Bénite site, the announcement revealed, specialises in the manufacture of fluorinated products, particularly the R-134A fluorogas, for wide-ranging applications.

Pursuant to European Directive 2006/40/EC, also known as the MAC (Mobile Air Conditioning) Directive, designed to reduce CO2 emissions, the use of R-134A will be banned in all new vehicles from January 1, 2017, in favour of more environmental friendly gases, said the announcement. It added that the European market represents the main outlet for Arkema’s R-134A business in region.

The company said that the closure of the activity would require a reorganisation of the fluorogas plant in order to adapt the site’s structure to its new scope of operations while also improving the competitiveness of the activity. The reorganisation, the company informed, would entail the loss of 38 positions. However, the proposed new structure, it added, would not result in any redundancies as redeployment solutions will be made available to those employees concerned.

Following the plant’s closure planned for first quarter 2017, the Pierre-Bénite site, the company revealed, would refocus on the production of fluorogases, fluorinated blends and derivatives for the stationary air conditioning, refrigeration and non-emissive uses markets, as well as the manufacture of fluoropolymers and certain catalysts.

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