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Dow Chemical seals Russian composites deal

By: By Richard Higgs
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

February 7, 2013

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND -- Composite manufacture in Russia took a big step forward as Dow Chemical Co. signed a deal with Russian partners, including state-run nanotechnology corporation Rusnano, to produce composite materials and carbon fiber intermediates in the country.

The partnership, which includes Dow's Turkish composites joint venture DowAksa, agreed to study opportunities in the areas of aerospace, infrastructure, energy, oil and gas and transportation, and to explore supplying both the Russian domestic and global markets.

The parties agreed to draw up "a comprehensive strategy" for composite production which will lead to potential investments in Prepreg-ACM and Nanotechnology Center of Composite, two Russian firms with Rusnano co-investment.

Top executives from global chemicals giant Dow, DowAksa, Rusnano and Russian composite materials producer Holding Company Composite (HCC) signed the memorandum of intent at the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos.

Signatories to the agreement included Dow Chemical Co. group CEO Andrew N. Liveris; Dow Europe, Middle East and Africa president and DowAksa chairman Heinz Haller and Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano's CEO.

This landmark deal follows an earlier outline agreement signed by Dow and Rusnano two years ago on potential joint projects in the general areas of energy efficiency, infrastructure, lightweight materials and life sciences.

"The signing of the MOI on potential manufacturing of carbon fiber intermediates in Russia marks a significant step forward in Dow's innovation and growth strategy.

"Collaborating with the strong local players and leveraging DowAksa capabilities, we will contribute Dow's expertise in composites technology, formulation, and technical service, as well as global market knowledge and channels," stated Dow's Andrew Liveris.

The latest deal will also open the way for Rusnano's Russian portfolio companies to do business and enter technological partnership with Dow Chemical, according to Anatoly Chubais.

"The agreement will enable our companies to spurt ahead in the rapidly evolving realm of carbon composite materials and to find new solutions to increasingly complex engineering challenges," he said.

DowAksa is a 50:50 joint venture between group offshoot Dow Europe and Turkey's Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.S., a global leader in the acrylic fiber industry. DowAksa entered the carbon fiber business in 2009 by developing its own technology for the production of carbon fiber and carbon fiber intermediates.

"Our engagement with the Russian domestic companies will bring new investments to the Russian market and may enable the local production of high quality composite materials which are extremely valuable for downstream high-tech manufacturing.

"I believe that this collaboration will place DowAksa and Turkey in advanced materials league," said Mehmet Ali Berkman, chairman of Dow's Turkish DowAksa partner, also a Davos deal signatory.