Hoechst AG and Klockner-Werke AG plan to boost their European rigid films businesses by forming a joint venture in the third quarter. Kalle-Pentaplast GmbH, owned 50 percent by each firm, will have combined sales of about 600 million deutsch marks ($394.4 million) for PVC, amorphous PET, unoriented polypropylene and polystyrene film, said Hoechst spokeswoman Ursula Tober. The venture will have plants in Montabaur and Gendorf, Ger-many, and in Weert, the Nether-lands.
Tober said the venture will focus on European markets and have little impact on how the partners do business in North America.
Kalle-Pentaplast will capitalize on European trends such as PVC packaging replacement, a trend most evident in Germany, Tober said in a telephone interview. Each of the partners is a big PVC film producer and together they will invest in PVC replacement technology.
The European Commission approved the joint venture on May 23. Kalle-Pentaplast will be based in Heiligenroth, Germany. Hoechst's head office is in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and Klockner-Werke is in Duisburg. The venture will supply rigid films for applications in packaging, office supplies, furniture, displays and credit cards.
In an unrelated move, Hoechst is doubling PET sheet capacity at its Dublin, Ireland, plant by installing a second extrusion line, the firm announced June 25.
Hostaglas Ltd. will increase capacity to about 8.8 million pounds per year of transparent PET sheet ranging in thickness from 1-6 millimeters. The Dublin facility uses Hoechst's Polyclear amorphous PET resins as raw material for Hostaglas sheet.
Hoechst said PET sheet markets are growing more than 15 percent a year and it intends to expand this business beyond Europe, where it recently entered the market. The company said easy thermoforming, resistance to chemicals and weathering, and food-use approval are major reasons PET sheet demand is rising.
Hoechst and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. of Tokyo recently announced expansions of their joint venture Diafoil polyester film plants worldwide to keep up with market growth of 5 percent annually.