W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) announced today that, during the third quarter of this year, it will close its 35,000 metric ton per year silica sol based fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) catalyst manufacturing operation in Lake Charles, LA. Grace introduced silica sol catalysts in the late 1970s. Since then, its industry-leading research, technical service, and flexible manufacturing systems have introduced a number of new and improved catalyst technology platforms customized to support the varying needs of its refining industry customers around the globe. “We believe the silica sol catalyst technology has reached the end of its life cycle,” said Shawn Abrams, President, Grace Catalysts Technologies. “Other technologies in our portfolio are meeting the demands of modern day refiners far more effectively.” Grace is the world’s largest producer of FCC catalysts and additives and has developed a broad portfolio of products manufactured at locations in the US, Canada, Germany, and China. Nearly 40 percent of transportation fuels worldwide are processed with Grace catalysts. In 2012, Grace announced plans to build a state-of-the-art FCC catalyst plant in Abu Dhabi, to meet growing demand in the Middle East. About Grace Grace is a leading global supplier of catalysts; engineered and packaging materials; and specialty construction chemicals and building materials. The company’s three industry-leading business segments—Grace Catalysts Technologies, Grace Materials Technologies and Grace Construction Products—provide innovative products, technologies and services that enhance the quality of life. Grace employs approximately 6,500 people in over 40 countries and had 2012 net sales of $3.2 billion. More information about Grace is available at www.grace.com.
Jefferies analysts note that recent construction spending data indicates a cycle rotation away from construction-exposed names and toward industrial- and durable goods-levered firms could be playing out.