APLA ’12: Customers drive Brazil Oxiteno expansion – Ultrapar CEO

10 November 2012 23:32  [Source: ICIS news]

RIO DE JANEIRO (ICIS)--Brazil-based ethylene oxide (EO) and surfactants producer Oxiteno is expanding ethoxylation capacity because of customer demand, the CEO of its parent company said on Saturday.

“Our customers – the major soapers and cosmetics companies – are driving demand, and we are expanding to supply their needs,” said Pedro Wongtschowski, CEO of Ultrapar, and also president of the Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA).

Wongtschowski made his comments on the sidelines of the Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting.

“We already have a strong position in Mexico and want to expand there. In the US, we now want to serve that market with local production,” he added.

Oxiteno currently supplies the US market with surfactants production from Brazil and Mexico, he noted.

EO is reacted with fatty alcohols to produce surfactants, which are mainly used in the detergents and personal-care markets.

In September 2012, Oxiteno announced $92m (€73m) of investments to expand ethoxylation capacity by 100,000 tonnes/year in the US and Mexico.

In April 2012, Oxiteno acquired a specialty chemicals plant in Pasadena, Texas, for $15m. It plans to spend $15m more to retrofit the plant so it can make Oxiteno's line of specialty surfactants.

The plant has a capacity of 32,000 tons/year, and operations should start in 2013, Oxiteno said.

Oxiteno’s latest acquisition, the $74m purchase of American Chemical, the largest chemical firm in Uruguay, will boost its position in surfactants in Latin America, said Wongtschowski.

“This complements our line of products and will supply the markets in Uruguay as well as Argentina,” said the CEO.

“Right now we ship some of the same products from Brazil to Argentina. But now we can supply Argentina with this acquisition,” he added.

Oxiteno has no need to expand EO capacity, said Wongtschowski.

“We recently expanded EO capacity in Brazil and should have enough in coming years. In Mexico, Pemex is expanding EO capacity. In the US we are buying on the merchant market from several suppliers, and are fine there,” he said.

The APLA conference ends on Tuesday.

($ = €0.79)

By: Joseph Chang
+1 713 525 2653

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