By: Robert Grace
April 23, 2012
SHANGHAI (April 23, 2:45 p.m. ET) — Saudi Basic Industries Corp. on April 6 broke ground on its long-planned, $100 million technology center in China, and separately announced that its Sabic Innovative Plastics unit is adding new production lines for the company’s Lexan-brand polycarbonate resins and films in Shanghai and Nansha, China.
Sabic will build the 645,000-square-foot (60,000-square-meter) technology center in Kangqiao, east of Shanghai. It will house some 400 employees who will relocate to this new facility when completed in 2013.
In addition to commercial and corporate function staff, the center will be home to a research and development team of more than 200 scientists and engineers who will focus on advanced engineering plastics materials for a range of end-use applications. The facility also will feature a China Automotive Innovation Hub to drive next-generation materials development for that fast-growing sector.
Sabic essentially began planning for such a new center since it acquired GE Plastics for $11.6 billion in 2007. The Saudi conglomerate has been leasing space within General Electric Corp.’s large Shanghai technical and applications development center since that deal, but recognized the need to build its own such facility in China.
Sabic Chairman Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thenayan Al-Saud, who also is chairman of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, presided over the recent groundbreaking ceremony, which was attended by more than 200 people. Prince Saud said: “Material sustainability is key to the creation of new applications across industries. With the new technology center, Sabic brings to China its global expertise and experience in petrochemical research and production helping enterprises create new possibilities in the design of products for local and global markets.”
The company said the center will be built with the highest global green standards, in line with the guidance by the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) gold certification. Adherence to these standards will ensure the facility is designed and built to achieve high performance in such areas as sustainable site development water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Meanwhile, Sabic Innovative Plastics announced April 18 that it will add dedicated compounding production lines of its Lexan PC resin at its Shanghai facility in early 2012. It said this capacity increase “will ensure ample, reliable supplies of Lexan resins and Lexan specialty copolymers to help drive Asian customer growth.” This addition comes on the heels of a similar Lexan compounding expansion in Nansha in late 2010. Sabic IP does not reveal production capacity information.
Additionally, Sabic IP said it plans to install additional capacity for Lexan optical-quality polycarbonate and textured film products in Asia in 2012-14, after starting up a new extrusion line for such products in a class 1,000 clean room at its Nansha facility in the first quarter of 2011. The firm said this capacity will address accelerating market demand for high-end film in consumer electronics, automotive and security segments where these materials are widely used in applications such as automotive navigational display units; notebook PCs; monitors; and liquid crystal display/light emitting diode (LCD/LED) televisions.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp. ranks among the world’s top petrochemical companies and is a global leader in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and advanced thermoplastics. It operates in more than 40 countries with 33,000 employees, and recorded a net income of 21.59 billion Saudi riyals ($5.73 billion) in 2010, with sales revenues totaling SR 152 billion ($40.5 billion).
Today, Innovative Plastics is a multibillion-dollar company with operations in more than 35 countries and approximately 9,000 employees worldwide.