Two major producers of bottle-grade PET resin are planning to expand capacity in Latin America in the next four years. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-based Rhodia-Ster SA, Latin America's PET resin market leader, has announced it will spend $165 million to more than triple its annual production in South America to 588.6 million pounds per year by the end of 1997.
The firm, part of the Rhodia Group owned by Rhone-Poulenc, plans to raise capacity at its existing Brazilian PET resin plant. It also will build resin plants in Brazil and Argentina and launch Venezuela's first PET resin plant in a joint venture with textile polyester chip maker Mantex SA.
Also planning to supply the region's fast-developing rigid PET packaging market through local production is Eastman Chemical Co. of Kingsport, Tenn.
It said it will begin operating a second PET resin plant in Latin America - a 2641/2 million-pound-per-year unit - in the first quarter of 1998. The location will be announced shortly, the company said. Eastman expects to begin producing bottle-grade PET resin in Cosoleacaque, Mexico, early next year.
The company also plans to start up a plant in San Roque, Spain, in 1997, and another in North America later this year.
Most of Eastman's PET resin business in Latin America is with the carbonated soft drinks industry, the company said.
Rhodia-Ster claims to hold a 40 percent market share of South America's bottle-grade PET resin. The regional marketplace is dominated by Brazil, which represents about 55 percent of total PET consumption.
The firm plans to supply PET packaging markets in Brazil and the Southern Cone nations of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay and the Andean Pact states.
In Brazil, Rhodia-Ster will raise capacity from 154.3 million to 191.8 million pounds per year at its resin plant at Pocos de Caldas, Brazil, by September. It will build a second plant of 176.4 million pounds per year at the same location to start up in October 1996.
Rhodia-Ster, which already sells to the Southern Cone nations, plans to build a 176.4 million-pound-per-year PET plant near Buenos Aires, Argentina, later this year to serve that region, which accounts for about 40 percent of South American consumption.
As for Andean Pact countries, which represent 10 percent of the South American market, Rhodia-Ster has signed a letter of intent with Mantex for joint production of resin at Mantex's plant in Valencia, Venezuela.
In the first half of 1995 it should make 13.2 million pounds, with output to 28.6 million pounds by early 1996, topping 44.1 million pounds in 1997, Rhodia-Ster officials said.