Bio-Based Polymer News
PTT Chemical wants to be largest biopolymer manufacturer in the world
5 years, 9 months ago Posted in: Bio-Based Polymer News 0

Esimated $100M USD buyout attempt
Move for top spot in bioplastics via takeover of NatureWorks


09/14/2011 — PTT Chemical will invest about US$100 million (Bt3 billion) in acquiring a major stake in US-based NatureWorks, the world’s leading polylactic acid (PLA) manufacturer, making the Thai company the largest bioplastics-maker in the world.

The exact value and other details of the deal are yet to be disclosed, but an announcement is expected within the next few days.

A source at parent company PTT said PTT Chemical would hold around a 50-per-cent stake in NatureWorks.

The deal follows NatureWorks’s announcement last year that it was seeking a location in Southeast Asia to establish a second PLA plant. Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are the options for the new manufacturing facility.

NatureWorks’s current PLA plant, located in Nebraska, has a production capacity of 150,000 tonnes per year.

The source said PTT Chemical and NatureWorks were not yet discussing construction of the second PLA plant, but would likely do so once the acquisition deal is completed.

Pailin Chuchottaworn, president and chief executive officer of PTT, yesterday said that once PTT Chemi-cal acquired a US-based PLA manufacturing plant, PTT Group would become the world’s bioplastics leader.

The deal is set to be announced within two days, he added.

He said PTT currently had a joint venture, PTT MCC Biochem, with Mitsubishi Chemical Corp (MCC), formed with a registered capital of Bt360 million.

The JV is constructing the world’s first polybutylene succinate (PBS) manufacturing facility using bio-based materials in Thailand at a cost of Bt7 billion. Once PTT Chemical adds a PLA plant to its bioplastics value chain, it can be the world’s leader in this industry.

IRPC, another PTT subsidiary, is already producing green PBS from para rubber.

“Thailand has plentiful output of sugar, which is the raw material to produce bio-based plastic. This is the strength for our country in being the production base for a PLA plant,” Pailin said.

He added that the use of bio-based plastic was an increasingly global trend. For instance, the European Union will soon set a condition that plastic products exported to Europe must be produced using bioplastics.

Pailin chose yesterday not to mention the name of the PLA manufacturer that PTT Chemical will take over, but it is believed that it will be NatureWorks, as the US company is now the world’s leader in this field.

Prajya Phinyawat, PTT chief operating officer for downstream petrochemicals, previously said PTT had set a target to become the world’s leader in the bioplastics industry by 2018 after it has operational facilities for producing PBS and PLA.

The group’s PBS plant, in which PTT is co-investing with MCC, is scheduled to start operations by 2014 with a capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year.

Meanwhile, if NatureWorks decides to site its second PLA plant in Thailand, production should start up by 2015.

Marc Verbruggen, president and CEO of NatureWorks, earlier said an an-nouncement about investment in a second PLA plant would be made during this quarter. The company will have to invest $300 million for a 150,000-tonne manufacturing plant, he said.

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