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SµO PAULO, BRAZIL — Brazilian resin producers are in the midst of about $820 million in investments to expand capacity, including new plants and debottlenecking projects. The projects include:

OPP Petroquímica SA at the end of the year will launch a 352 million-pound-per-year polypropylene plant in Triunfo, Brazil, where the firm already runs two PP units producing 661 million pounds a year.

In polyethylene, OPP is building a 573 million-pound-per-year swing plant for linear low density and high density PE, also in Triunfo. Startup is scheduled for early 1999.

OPP makes 352 million pounds a year of LLDPE/HDPE in Camacari, Brazil, and 286 million pounds of LDPE in Capuava, plus another 440 million pounds of LDPE per year in Triunfo. Investments in progress are $105 million for the PP facility and $170 million for the PE plant.

Polibrasil SA Ind£stria e Comércio finished expansion at its Rio de Janeiro PP plant last January. The unit increased its capacity from 308 million to 396 million pounds per year, through a $3 million investment. Polibrasil also has PP units in Camacari and Paulínia that total another 551 million pounds per year of resins, roughly.

Politeno Ind£stria e Comércio SA spent about $10 million to debottleneck its LDPE and LLDPE/HDPE plants in Camacari. This will result in a total increase from 661 million to 749 million pounds per year by the end of 1997.

Polialden Petroquímica SA this month concludes a 25 percent increase of its HDPE and ultrahigh-molecular-weight PE operation. The Camacari plant is about to reach its 330 million- pound-a-year capacity, through a $9.2 million investment.

Ipiranga Petroquímica SA in Triunfo in January inaugurated a 253 million-pound-per-year production line for HDPE. The investment amounted to $65 million and was responsible for the expansion of Ipiranga's capacity to 738 million pounds per year.

By 1999, the company expects to put in operation two other projects: a $115 million swing plant capable of producing annually 330 million pounds of LLDPE/HDPE, and a 330 million- pound-per-year PP facility, valued at $105 million.

Union Carbide do Brasil Ltda. last year concluded a $10 million investment to increase its LDPE production capacity from 220 million to 308 million pounds per year. The SÌo Paulo company is a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corp. of Danbury, Conn.

Trikem SA, Brazil's largest PVC supplier, is planning a $30 million expansion project. The company currently has 970 million pounds of annual capacity divided between its three plants — Camacari, Macéio and Santo André. Trikem's plans for 1998 are to add an additional 132 million pounds of capacity in its Camacari unit.

Solvay do Brasil SA makes PVC and HDPE in Santo André and has just announced a new 62 million-pound-per-year PVC specialty plant at the same site. The $20 million project will start operating by December. The company is considering plans to increase the capacity to about 80 million pounds in 1998.

Estireno do Nordeste SA will invest $24 million to increase polystyrene capacity from 220 million pounds to 242 million pounds per year at its Guaruj  unit, in SÌo Paulo. The firm is controlled by a local unit of Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich.

Rhodia SA, an affiliate of the French Rhône-Poulenc Group, will invest $30 million between 1997-1999 in improving and expanding its SÌo Bernardo do Campo's engineering plastics facility, near SÌo Paulo. The unit polymerizes nylon 6 and compounds nylon 6 and nylon 6/6. It will have its total capacity increased 50 percent, for a total of 66 million pounds per year by the end of the decade.

Rhodia-Ster SA, the largest PET supplier in South America, in December finished a project that doubled its annual capacity to 390 million pounds at its Pocos de Caldas unit. The project cost about $100 million.

Policarbonatos do Brasil SA is investing about $25 million to double capacity at its 22 million-pound-per-year plant in Camacari by 1998. This new line will permit the company to produce CD grades, which currently are available just through imports.