4/11/2002

New world-scale Vinyl chloride plant at Vintron in Knapsack. Successful conclusion of the backward integration of Vinnolit

The ceremony marks the conclusion of the restructuring at Vintron including expansion of chlorine, dichloroethane and vinyl chloride capacities. The project initiated at Vintron GmbH in 1998 to restructure the entire range of electrolysis products and derivative products (chlorine, caustic soda, hydrogen, dichloroethane, vinyl chloride) represents the largest investment, more than €130million, made thus far at the Knapsack chemicals site and concludes the process of backward integration of the parent company Vinnolit GmbH & Co. KG. The realisation of this ambitious project to safeguard our supply of raw materials was made possible as a result of the acquisition of Vinnolit and Vintron in 2000 by Advent International, a leading international investment company. Vinnolit now has at its disposal two backwards integrated twin sites for PVC production - Burghausen/Gendorf and Cologne/Knapsack.

The newly integrated oxychlorination / cracking plant with a capacity of 330,000 metric tonnes of vinyl chloride came on stream at the beginning of 2002. Built under the technical guidance of Krupp Uhde, it represents one of the largest and most modern plants of its kind on the European continent and was built and inaugurated in a record time of only 20 months. The new production plant is based on technology developed within the Vinnolit group and licensed worldwide.

Already in October 2001 capacity at the chlorine production plant was expanded to 250,000 metric tonnes annually with an extension to the facilities which incorporates energy-saving membrane technology. In addition, in recent years the capacity of the direct chlorination plant for the production of dichloroethane has trebled. This resulted from technology developed in-house using the existing reactors and from the installation of a new distillation column for product purification.

Investment in modern plants also benefits the environment. Responsible Care® and Sustainable Development form an integral part of the business policy of Vintron and Vinnolit. Both companies are committed to ongoing improvements vis-à-vis environmental- and health protection, safety and quality. As a result of the establishment of the new vinyl chloride plant, energy consumption at Vintron will be reduced considerably. The demand for natural gas is now 40% lower and electricity consumption is down 15% per tonne of vinyl chloride. The introduction of membrane technology and the optimal integration with the existing plant has helped to reduce electricity consumption in the production of chlorine by 10% per tonne.

Advent International acquired the companies Vintron and Vinnolit in July 2000. The new owners set themselves the target of further developing the business and the plants at both companies in order to be able to meet customers' increasing future demands. According to the Vinnolit Managing Directors Dr. Josef Ertl and Hans Jürgen Zippel, "The investment in Knapsack signifies long-term positive expectations in the development of PVC business based on a cost-optimised value creation chain resulting in greatly enhanced competitiveness." With an annual capacity of 650,000 metric tonnes of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Vinnolit is the leading producer in Germany, one of the most important producers in Europe and, worldwide, is among the Top 10 in vinyls industry. "Having successfully restructured Vintron to safeguard raw material supply to Vinnolit, we are convinced that we have made a significant contribution to securing the future of our site and work places in the region", states Vintron Managing Director Dr. Hermann Berwe.

On 11.04.2002 Vintron will celebrate the successful production expansion: On the occasion of the inauguration Dr. Hermann Berwe has invited all staff and their families as well as numerous guests from the economy, the local community, trade associations, local authorities and the political arena to an official opening of the new plant. Guest of honour is the Economics Minister for North Rhine-Westphalia Ernst Schwanhold.

Editorial contacts:Dr. Hermann Berwe Vintron GmbH, Chemiepark Knapsack, D-50354 Hürth
Tel.: +49 (0) 2233 - 48- 6296, Fax: -6448,
e-mail:
berwe@vinton.de

Dr. Oliver Mieden,
Environmental Affairs / Corporate Communications
Tel.: 089 - 96103-208,
Fax: 089 - 96103-122,
e-mail:
oliver.mieden@vinnolit.com

Advent International
Advent International is one of the world's largest private equity firms which advises international funds. Founded in Boston in 1984, the firm has 15 offices in 14 countries and manages a portfolio of investments totalling some US$6 billion. Advent has invested in more than 500 companies worldwide in various branches of industry.
www.adventinternational.com

Vinnolit GmbH & Co. KG
With an annual capacity of 650,000 metric tonnes Vinnolit is the leading PVC producer in Germany, one of the most important producers in Europe and, worldwide, is among the Top 10 in vinyls industry. National and international activities of the company are managed from Ismaning, near Munich. Production sites are in Burghausen, Gendorf, Knapsack und Cologne. Turnover of Vinnolit GmbH & Co. KG in 2001 amounted to €542million. The Managing Directors are Dr. Josef Ertl und Hans-Jürgen Zippel.
The Vinnolit group employs 1,600 staff including those at the subsidiaries, Vintron GmbH and Vinnolit Technologie GmbH & Co. KG (VinTec).

Vinnolit produces and markets a wide range of PVC products covering all kinds of PVC applications, e.g. in the construction sector, in the automobile industry or in the medical sector. Whether the PVC is for window profiles, rigid film, technical coatings, car undersealing or medical applications, Vinnolit is able to offer a suitable product. In the area of PVC products for special applications Vinnolit is the market and technical leader. www.vinnolit.com

Vintron GmbH
Vintron, a 100 % subsidiary of Vinnolit GmbH & Co. KG, employs around 270 staff with a turnover of ca. €190million and is based in Hürth-Knapsack near Cologne. The company produces various raw materials, which are required in the chemical industry as well as in other branches. These products include chlorine, caustic soda, hydrogen, dichloroethane and vinyl chloride. The Managing Director is Dr. Hermann Berwe.
www.vintron.de

Products from Vintron und Vinnolit
Chlorine
is indispensible in many areas of daily life. It is used, for example, in the preparation and disinfection of drinking water or in the preparation of medicaments. In addition, chlorine is employed in the production of a variety of plastics used in the construction and automobile industries. Chlorine is also used in the production of compact discs, solar panels and computer- chips. Chlorine and its derivatives thereby make an important contribution to health, safety and comfort in the modern industrial society.

Caustic soda is an important industrial chemical which is used in many different areas; e.g. in the production of aluminium, washing powders, synthetic fibres, glass, paper, cellulose and dye-stuffs.

Hydrogen is used in numerous production processes. In addition, hydrogen is used as welding gas or as fuel, whereby the only combustion product is water.

Dichloroethane and Vinyl chloride are intermediate products for PVC production.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a particularly versatile material - functional, economical, environmentally sustainable - which is used in many areas of industry and in many different applications. In the construction sector - accounting for more than 60% of PVC production - the material comes into its own, above all because it is resistant to ageing, is water- and chemical-proof, is difficult to ignite, provides good insulation and, for special applications and depending on the requirements, can be produced in impact resistant, non-fading and transparent formats. Examples for such applications include window profiles, pipes, other profiles, roofing, flooring and cable sheathing. Other important PVC customers include the automobile and electrical industries, the medical sector and the packaging industry. PVC can be easily reused and for the most important applications it will be recycled.