NEW YORK - Dow Plastics is planning to be the third-largest supplier of polypropylene resins in the world by the year 2005. Dow plans to build PP production capacity, and acquire or form joint ventures with other companies to fulfill its goal, according to executives who spoke Dec. 8 at Dow's annual year-end media briefing in New York.
Dow now does not make PP, but plans to build 400 million pounds of production capacity at polyolefin production facilities it is acquiring in Germany. In October, Dow named Robert Wood global vice president for engineering thermoplastics and PP.
``Yes, it is late to get into that business, but there is a significant opportunity there,'' Wood said.
Tony Carbone, group vice president for Dow Plastics, said the opportunity is too good for Dow to pass up.
Noting that Dow's efforts will be driven by its metallocene catalyst technologies, Wood said Dow will provide PP for packaging, automotive and a host of other ``selective'' applications.
``There is room at the top of that industry, and we expect to be among the top three producers within 10 years,'' Wood said.
To accomplish that goal, Dow will need more than 2 billion pounds of production capacity.
The top five PP producers in the world are: Montell Polyolefins of Hoofddorp, Netherlands, with nearly 7.5 billion pounds of production capacity; Amoco Chemical Co. of Alpharetta, Ga., 2.6 billion pounds; Petrofina SA of Brussels, Belgium, nearly 2.3 billion pounds; Mitsubishi Petrochemical Co. of Tokyo, 1.7 billion pounds; and Borealis A/S of Copenhagen, Denmark, nearly 1.5 billion pounds.
Borealis is a 2-year-old venture between Neste Oy of Espoo, Finland, and Statoil AB of Denmark.
Industry analysts previously said Neste Oy wants to sell its 50 percent share of Borealis, and such a move could give Dow a rapid entry and position in PP. However, Dow executives would not discuss such speculation.
Wood said Dow will focus on PP as a molding resin, while Amoco primarily is a producer of PP used in fiber applications. Also, Montell is focusing its attention on integrating its production facilities after this year's merger of Montedison's and Shell Chemical Co.'s PP operations that formed the company.
He said Dow has not limited the PP markets it may enter.