A company spokeswoman told CNI on Tuesday that an explosion earlier today resulted in a fire in which four people suffered minor injuries. "Production has stopped and we are considering a force majeure for production from this plant," she added. Lenzing was unable to quantify the extent of the damage or estimate when production might resume. She could not say if the company's plans to double capacity at the plant by the end of 2003 have been jeopardised by the incident.
Lenzing said a team of experts is investigating possible causes of the explosion. Repairs will begin when the cause of the blast has been identified, the company added, so that production can resume as soon as possible.
Thomas Fahnemann, chairman of the board of management and Franz Raninger, member of the management board, will inspect the site tomorrow.
(An early indication that Lenzing's lyocell process may differ from Courtauld's in how it controls the exotherms which can occur when the solution of cellulose in amine oxide gets too hot.)