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UK investment pays off as Perstorp targets bioplastics

By: Charlotte Eyre
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

October 23, 2013

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Caprolactones leader Perstorp Group says its expansion of a plant in Warrington, England, has allowed it to move into the bioplastics market with a new material, which was on display at K 2013.

Perstorp got hold of the plant in 2006 when it acquired the Solvay SA caprolactones business for 200 million euros. At time of purchase, the plant had sales of 60 million euros and was one of only three caprolactone plants worldwide.

Market development director Håkan Björnberg said the Perstorp, Sweden-based company has invested in boosting annual capacity at the site to 30,000 metric tonnes and that the new capacity, which became operational last year, has allowed the company to serve the bioplastics market.

"We have also been investing in R&D for six years," he said. "We are traditionally more of a coatings market but our investments, which are about 150 million to 175 million euros, are now paying off in bioplastics."

The company has launched Capa, a bio polymer that can be industrially or domestically composted.

One of the main advantages of Capa is that it can be blended with other biopolymers, Björnberg said.

"For example, you can blend Capa with [polylactic acid] so that it is less brittle and you can make a more flexible product," he said.

Capa is one of four of the company's "star products" on display at K this year, the others being Pevalen plasticizer, Akestra thermoplastic and Charmor for intumescent systems.

Pevalen is a non-phthalate plasticizer for sensitive applications and is aimed at close contact PVC applications such as flooring or toys, while Akestra is a co-polyester that can be used in moulded applications such as sports bottles. Charmor is designed for phosphorous/nitrogen-based systems and reduces smoke and heat in the event of a fire.