Iran’s Entekhab group eyes expansion, new plants

Source: ICIS News

2015/10/04

Interview article by Tahir Ikram

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Iran’s Entekhab Investment Development Group is planning to expand its business – as sancitons on the country are set to be lifted by early next year - by adding new production facilities of expandable polystyrene (EPS), linear alkyl benzene (LAB) and formalin, the group’s CEO, Mohammad Reza Dayyani, said.

The company aims to complete the construction of three new EPS plants with a combined capacity of 420,000 tonnes/year by 2017, Dayyani told ICIS in an email interview.

The first 250,000 tonne/year plant is expected to come on line in January 2016, while the second plant, with 120,000 tonnes/year capacity, is expected to start by the end of 2016. The third unit, with 50,000 tonnes/year capacity, is expected to come on stream some time in 2017.

All three units will be located in Assaluyeh Styrene Park, in southern Iran.

The local Iranian market is expected to offtake 150,000 tonnes/year EPS from the company’s production, while 270,000 tonnes/year would be set aside for exports, he said.

“The target market will be Europe and Asia, especially China, and around 30% of production would be exported to the Middle East,” he added.

EPS has growing demand from the construction sector, especially in Iran and the Middle East.

Besides EPS, Entekhab is also planning production of LAB, with one 40,000 tonne/year plant in Arvand Free Zone in Khuzestan province expected to come on stream at the end of 2017 and one 110,000 tonne/year formalin unit in Qeshm Free Zone in Hormozgan province scheduled to start up in the middle of next year, he said.

LAB is used as an intermediate for the production of surfactants and detergents, while Formalin is a feedstock for trimethylolpropane, a trivalent alcohol used for numerous products in the automotive, furniture and construction industries.

International sanctions on Iran for its nuclear programme are expected to be lifted by early 2016, which will allow Entekhab further access to the European markets, Dayyani added.

Iran’s chemical industry growth has been stifled by tough western sanctions, which have cut access to global technology, expertise, and financing.

However, that is set to change as on 14 July, Iran and the six world powers struck a landmark comprehensive agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of the crippling economic and financial sanctions.

Meanwhile Iran plans to double petrochemical capacity to 120m tonnes/year by around 2018, according to documents seen by ICIS in July this year.

Dayyani said the company was “largely unaffected by the sanctions” because its home appliance business was mostly for the domestic markets.

Entekhab started its activities in 1988 by entering home appliances field. Later, the group ventured in trading and manufacturing, while future business interests include steel industries and building construction, Dayyani added.