Mobil Chemical Co. will enter biaxially oriented polypropylene film production in the Pacific Rim through a 50/50 joint venture with Thai Film Industries Public Co. Ltd. of Bangkok, Thailand. Mobil and its partner plan to begin producing about 24 million pounds per year of uncoated and coated BOPP in Rayong, Thailand, beginning in the first quarter of 1997, Mobil announced Jan. 10. They will sell film in southeast Asian countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Mobil has been supplying BOPP film in the region from imports from its U.S. and European plants, according to Jim Timlin, a planner for the firm's Films Division in Pittsford, N.Y. Thai Films is one of the major BOPP suppliers in the region and other local producers also supply the market, Timlin said in a Jan. 11 telephone interview.
Partners in the venture, Thai Films and Mobil subsidiary Mobil Packaging Films International Inc., will invest about $50 million in the project. They will call the venture TFM Packaging Films Co. Ltd. Mobil Packaging Films International will sell the venture's output through its sales and marketing group based in Sing-apore.
It also will provide technical sales support.
TFM Packaging plans to start up the extrusion line and orienter in early 1997 and a coating line six months later. They will use Mobil technology to produce transparent and opaque uncoated and coated films. Timlin did not have details on equipment contracts.
BOPP film usage for flexible packaging in the region has grown 20 percent annually for the past five years, according to Mobil. Mobil wants a local partner and chose Thai Films because it understands the business and local culture, Timlin said.
Thai Films is about 30 percent publicly held. In ten years it grew to be a major flexible packaging producer. Its plants in Thailand make BOPP film, cast PP film and PET film.
Timlin did not have sales figures for the firm and other officials were unavailable at press time.
TFM's product line will include opaque white and metallized films made under Mobil license.
Demand for BOPP packaging and labeling films is growing in the region partly because international food companies are expanding in the Pacific Rim.