OREANDA-NEWS. South Korea's Hanwha General has shut its three purified terephthalic acid (PTA) units at Ulsan after workers went on strike over pay.

The units, with combined capacity of 1.3mn t/yr, were running at about 80pc before yesterday's shutdown. The strike was sparked by Hanwha's takeover of Samsung General Chemical last year, which led to disagreements over welfare and pension payments for some employees.

The shutdown comes only a few days before Hanwha was planning to close the No.1 and No.3 PTA units at Ulsan because of poor margins. The firm said in September that it would shut the two units with combined capacity of 850,000 t/yr on 24 October, with no immediate plans for a restart. Hanwha blamed the negative paraxylene-PTA margin as the main reason for the shutdown.

The shutdown plan was brought forward as a result of the strike, and the company is continuing discussions with workers, a Hanhwa official said.

The company's sole PTA unit at Daesan with capacity of 700,000 t/yr is running at full rates.

Hanwha bought a 57.6pc stake in Samsung General in November last year.