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Albemarle and Senze Meilu form mineral flame retardant joint venture

Agreement advances Albemarle’s strategy to grow in emerging applications and regions, with advantaged, local production capability

BATON ROUGE, La., May 14, 2013 -- Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) and Senze Meilu Company, of Shanxi, China, announced today that the two companies have signed definitive agreements to establish a joint venture company in Lvliang, Shanxi. Upon final approval from the relevant government authorities in China, the venture, Albemarle Senze Chemicals (Shanxi) Company, Ltd., will build and operate a new 50,000 MT facility to manufacture MARTINAL® fine precipitated alumina trihydrate (ATH) flame retardants based on Albemarle’s proprietary technology principally used in wire and cable applications.

"This venture will advance our position in the fastest growing segments of the wire and cable markets in Asia and India and complement Albemarle’s existing world scale production facility in Bergheim, Germany. The combined assets will further position Albemarle as a leading player in key flame retardant technologies and markets around the globe," said Troy DeSoto, Albemarle’s global vice president, Flame Retardants.

"We have worked for some time to identify the right partner to develop a plant to produce MARTINAL in China. We are very pleased to partner with Senze, which is back integrated into raw materials essential to efficient ATH production. The combination of Albemarle’s technology with Senze’s world scale bauxite and alumina production capabilities will make this joint venture a platform for success for both companies,” said Matt Juneau, Albemarle’s vice president, Polymer Solutions.

Production at the new facility is expected to begin in mid-2015. Albemarle, as majority stakeholder, will market MARTINAL on behalf of the joint venture in the high-growth Asia-Pacific and Indian markets.

Senze's Chairman, Mr. Liu Jiping, said, "Over the last several years, Senze has established itself as a leading player in the bauxite market in China. We then began an aggressive expansion program that culminated with the start-up of our Bayer plant last year. Our partnership with Albemarle will increase our ability to participate in specialty markets for alumina, and we anxiously await the start-up of the joint venture plant in 2015."

Fine precipitated alumina trihydrate is an environmentally-friendly, mineral-based flame retardant and smoke suppressant used in a variety of polyolefin resins. The largest, fastest growing application is in low-smoke wire and cable applications within the energy sector, which is benefitting from rising energy consumption in China and other rapidly developing economies throughout Asia-Pacific. Other applications include polyvinyl chloride, thermosets, engineering thermoplastics, and rubber in a variety of electrical, construction and transportation applications.