Chemicals and materials firm Koppers Holdings is planning to build a new naphthalene facility in Stickney, Illinois. The company announced this week that it would apply for a series of environmental permits and was also looking at the possibility of consolidating its tar distillation businesses across North America.

If the plans are finalized and if all permits are acquired within a reasonable time frame, the company expects the facility to be in operation in early 2016. If the consolidation plan goes ahead, Koppers will move production of naphthalene from its existing plant in Follansbee, West Virgina to Stickney.

Walter W. Turner, Koppers president and CEO, said that the move was another step in the company's long-term strategy to constantly seek ways to improve its chemicals-business operating structure. By consolidating operations in North America the company will operate its first full-service plant, including coal-tar distillation as well as downstream distillate and chemical production of naphthalene and phthalic anhydride.

A potential consolidation would help the company meet the needs of its customers in a more efficient way, as it would provide consistency in quality, production and delivery. The move would also result in cost optimization, Turner said. The final decision on whether the plan will go forward is expected over the next few months, once the analysis has been completed, he concluded.