GEORGIA GULF (NYSE: GGC)
Georgia Gulf is a vertically integrated manufacturer of vinyl including chlorine, caustic soda, vinyl chloride monomer, PVC, and molded vinyl products for the construction industry. They also make cumene and cumene hydroperoxide.
In July, 2012, George Gulf announced plans to merge with the commodities chemicals business being spun off from PPG Industries. The PPG products are primarily chlor-alkali. The combined companies will be the third largest producer of chlor-alkali in the US after Dow Chemical and Occidental. PPG will own 50.5% of the combined companies.
Chlor-alkali consists of the production of chlorine and usually sodium hydroxide (aka caustic soda or lye) by electrolysis of salt. Chlorine is used primarily to make PVC plastic; caustic soda is a major source of sodium in a variety of industries. This is the classical co-product situation in that chlorine cannot be stored and the two products have different demand/growth cycles. Keeping them in balance is usually accomplished by raising prices on one and cutting on the other, but it's a roller coaster for all involved.