S Korea's Hanwha on track to start up Ulsan EVA unit in September

28 February 2012 03:22  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--South Korea’s Hanwha Chemical Corp is on track to start up a new 40,000 tonne/year ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)/low density polyethylene (LDPE) swing plant at Ulsan in September, a company official said on Tuesday.

The start-up will raise its total EVA/LDPE capacity to 120,000 tonnes/year. The company currently operates two EVA/LDPE swing plants with annual capacity of 40,000 tonnes each at the Ulsan site, the official added.

Hanwha mainly produces EVA containing 9-28% of vinyl acetate (VA) and exports around 50% of its output, the official said in an earlier report.

After the plant comes on stream, the company would ramp up the production of its 15-40% VA content grades, said the official. He added that grades with more than 30% of VA content would be used in the photovoltaic and solar panel applications.

Meanwhile, China’s demand for the EVA resin from the downstream photovoltaic industry has been dampened by high product inventories and poor margins since the onset of the eurozone debt crisis last year.

“The China photovoltaic market is very weak now so we are selling very small volumes of below 100 tonnes to Japan and southeast Asia,” he said.

However, he added that the company has a positive outlook on the photovoltaic market as a result of firming crude oil futures amid sanctions against Iran and concerns about the country’s nuclear programme.

EVA cargoes with 30-33% VA content were sold at $2,400/tonne (€1,776/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) Japan/southeast (SE) Asia and above, while prices in the China market were hovering at around $2,100-2,150/tonne CFR China, according to the official.

EVA resin can be used to produce injection products, agricultural films, foam products, hot-melt adhesives, electric wires and cables. It is also used in the manufacture of solar panels, construction materials, inks and coatings.

Major EVA producers in Asia include Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC) and USI Far East; South Korea’s Hanwha Chemical Corp, Honam Petrochemical and Samsung Total; Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical, DuPont-Mitsui Polychemicals and Tosoh Corp; China’s YPC-BASF (BYC), Beijing Organic and DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers; Singapore’s The Polyolefin Co Singapore (TPC) and Thailand’s TPI Polene.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Helen Lee
+65 6780 4359

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