UpdateUS NatureWorks to build Thai PLA plant

12 October 2011 13:07  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--US-based polylactic acid (PLA) manufacturer NatureWorks said on Wednesday it will invest in a new plant in Thailand, following PTT Chemical’s (PTTCH) purchase of a 50% stake in the company.

Thai petrochemicals producer PTTCH said in an earlier stock exchange filing that it will be acquiring the stake in NatureWorks from US-based agribusiness major Cargill in a deal worth $150m (€110m).

PTTCH’s investment in NatureWorks – previously wholly owned by Cargill – is subject to regulatory approval, according to a statement by NatureWorks. Cargill will own the remaining 50% share of NatureWorks.

“PTT Chemical’s investment supports NatureWorks intent to globalise its Ingeo manufacturing capability by building a new production facility in Thailand,” said Marc Verbruggen, president and CEO of NatureWorks.

NatureWorks markets its biopolymers, made from renewable plant material, under the brand-name Ingeo.

“We anticipate bringing the new plant on line in 2015, and expect to announce further details on this expansion later this year,” Verbruggen added.

NatureWorks has seen steady 25–30% increases in annual demand for Ingeo over the “past several years”, the company said. NatureWorks runs a 140,000 tonne/year PLA facility in Blair, Nebraska.

The proposed new Ingeo facility in Thailand would be NatureWorks’ second production plant.

“PTT Chemical is keen to play a role in pioneering a worldscale bioplastics industry with the aim to become a global leader by 2020 and push Thailand to become an Asian biohub,” added Nuttachat Charuchinda, the chief operating officer of PTTCH’s downstream petroleum business.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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