31 March 1997 00:00 [Source: ACN]
POORER-than-expected demand in the region for speciality aqueous resins has led Zeneca to sell its US$20m resins manufacturing plant in Singapore.
Morton International, which is refocusing on its core salt and speciality chemical business, will acquire the plant for an undisclosed sum. It is confident the gradual phasing-out of duties in the region will boost the growth of the business. The sale is expected to be completed by May this year.
Zeneca said the sale is part of its attempts to refocus its activities in Asia to bring closer its resins, biocides and pigments, and additives businesses. However, it stressed that it will remain committed to speciality resins in Asia.
'The growth of the industry has been half the double-digit growth predicted in 1994, when we set up the plant,' said general manager of Zeneca Specialties Asia Pacific Jon Cheele.
He does not expect any significant dip in Zeneca's Asia Pacific business. 'We will continue to service our customers in Asia from our European and US plants and will have specialised products toll-manufactured by Morton in Singapore,' he said. 'In addition, customer contact and technical support will be maintained in the region from the new, expanded headquarters and technical centre.'
Zeneca has no immediate plans to set up other resin manufacturing bases in the region. 'The sale will not preclude our putting in additional facilities in the region when we think the timing is right,' Cheele noted.
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