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Songwon starts production at Houston OPS plant

By: Bob Moser
PLASTICS NEWS

May 21, 2013

SÃO PAULO, Brazil – South Korean additives maker Songwon Industrial Co. Ltd will have its new 7,000 metric ton-per-year OPS plant in Houston go online today, May 21, the company's chief operating officer told Plastics News during the opening day of Feiplastic in São Paulo

The new facility, which has been under construction since September 2012, was built with expansion in mind, Maurizio Butti said in a May 20 interview. Butti declined to comment on the cost of the project.

Strong future GDP growth forecasts for many Latin American countries over the next decade make the region bankable for polymer demand, said Dieter Morath, executive vice president of sales. Key growth markets in Brazil and neighboring countries for polymers, and the additives they demand, include agri-films and a variety of parts and applications for light-weight cars, he added.

Whether growing polymer demand in Latin America will be served by local producers remains to be seen. Lower energy costs in North America, due in large part to shale gas discoveries, may shift more polymer production to that region and away from rising costs in South America, Morath said.

The Houston plant, built to serve growing polyolefin demand in North America, is part of a global expansion of OPS production for the Ulsan, South Korea-based firm.

Songwon doubled capacity last year of the OPS facility it acquired in Germany by purchasing Additive Technology Greitz, and plans to set up another 7,000 ton-per-year OPS plant in Kizad, Abu Dhabi, in early 2014 as a joint venture with Polysys Industries of Abu Dhabi.