Price and market trends: Novacarb, Penrice to form Asia sodium bicarbonate joint venture

07 February 2014 10:15 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

Novacarb and Penrice are to form a joint venture to produce and market sodium bicarbonate to supply rising demand from the Asian region through 
shared resources.

As part of the strategic partnership, they will expand sodium bicarbonate production at Australia-based Penrice’s Adelaide plant by 50,000 tonnes/year to be operational from March 2015. Financial details were not disclosed.

France-based Novacarb will fund the expansion of Penrice’s plant in return for an offtake agreement of 50,000 tonnes/year of sodium bicarbonate, which will be marketed by the partnership under a new brand in Asia.

The companies also plan a second step of the partnership, which is to set-up a new 50,000 tonne/year sodium bicarbonate facility in southeast Asia to be operational by the end of July 2016. An exact location for the new plant has not yet been disclosed.

The partnership will help both companies meet growing southeast Asian demand from high quality product applications in food, hemodialysis and pharmaceuticals, they said.

“This project is a good illustration of our ambitious strategic plan to strengthen our presence in fast growing high-end sodium bicarbonate markets in Asia,” Novacarb’s CEO Pascal Bandelier and Penrice’s CEO Guy Roberts said in a joint statement.

“Joining forces is the best way to be the most competitive and innovative player in Asia,” they added.

Novacarb currently has a global capacity to produce 570,000 tonnes/year of soda ash and 140,000 tonnes/ear of sodium bicarbonate. Penrice has at present the capacity to produce 100,000 tonnes/year of sodium bicarbonate and 270,000 tonnes/year of lime, they said.

By Samuel Smith