Novus and Atofina to Build MMP Plant

The Boards of Directors of Novus International, Inc. and Atofina, have approved plans for the construction of a 3-methylthiopropionaldehyde (MMP) cooperative project at the Atofina facility in Beaumont, Texas. The plant will be owned by Novus and operated by Atofina.

Construction of the 150 million pound (68.000 mtpa) MMP plant will begin in 2003, with production coming on-stream in 2005.

MMP is one of the key intermediates used to manufacture Alimet© Feed Supplement, the world's leading source of supplemental methionine for poultry, swine and ruminants. An essential amino acid and one of the building blocks of protein, methionine is required by animals to meet nutritional needs for proper growth, health and reproduction.

The new MMP plant will benefit from the on-site integrated supply by Atofina of two key raw materials: methyl mercaptan from Atofina's existing units at Beaumont and acrolein, which will be produced in a new 80 million pound (36,000 mtpa) unit, also part of this project.

This cooperative undertaking enables Novus to meet capacity projections for Alimet Feed Supplement as world demand for methionine grows. With other raw material supplies already in place, the new MMP facility secures Novus' ability to run the Alimet plant, located at Chocolate Bayou, Texas, at full capacity of 625 million lbs.

"Approval by the Novus Board of Directors to invest in construction of the MMP plant at Atofina confirms the overwhelming, long-term confidence they have in the future growth of Alimet and Novus," said Novus President and COO, Thad W. Simons, Jr. "Market demand for Alimet has intensified as global animal producers have increasingly switched from powder methionine to liquid analogue. Thanks to the support of poultry, swine and dairy producers around the world, Alimet Feed Supplement has become the new standard in methionine supplementation. I am most gratified to report that all pieces are now firmly in place to continue to fulfill the future methionine needs of our customers."

"This project highlights Atofina's long-term commitment to the methionine industry. Atofina brings to this cooperation with Novus its long-standing expertise in producing and handling methyl mercaptan and acrolein," said Andr‚ Ladurelli, Vice-President Thio and Fine Chemicals at Atofina. "This investment will consolidate Atofina's global leadership in thiochemicals."

600450 Novus and Atofina to Build MMP Plant

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