InterviewLotte UK PET/PTA plant start-up to increase competition - CEO

15 March 2010 17:37  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Lotte Chemical UK’s start-up of its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant at Wilton will bring further competition and offer more choice to the industry, said NY Lee, the company's CEO, on Monday.

Lotte Chemical UK, a subsidiary of KP Chemical Corporation, bought Artenius UK’s assets, including its PTA and PET manufacturing facilities at Wilton, Teesside, in January, and was on track to restart production in April.

“The European market is very balanced…. I think this new capacity will allow more choice to PTA and PET buyers, while bringing more competition in the territory. Demand will also go up in Europe eventually after the financial difficulties," Lee said.

Lotte Chemical UK’s priority, now that it was well placed in Europe, was to supply the European market, Lee said. However, he would not comment on whether or not Lotte had customer orders in place already.

The CEO also said the Artenius acquisition represented the next step in the globalisation plans of the Lotte Group.

Lee added that after the company stabilised the existing plant, it would make further acquisitions across Europe as it sets its sights on moving away from being a domestic-oriented business to becoming a global petrochemical company.

"In pursuing the globalisation of Lotte Group, we certainly have the intention to make further acquisitions in the future - however, it would depend on the situation of the worldwide economy," Lee said

He confirmed that so far no decisions on acquisition targets had been made.

At the time of the Artenius takeover, KP Chemical's CEO and president, Soo-Young Huh, said that Lotte Group intended to reach around $40bn (€29bn) turnover in its chemical division over the next eight years.

Lee said that there been no problems in securing feedstock for the Wilton site, but he would not go into any further detail about where the plant was getting its raw material from, saying only that it was coming from Europe.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214



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