PÃRTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL — The first polypropylene resin plant in Chile is scheduled to begin operating in 1999. Petroquim SA will produce 220.5 million pounds of resin per year at a plant in Concepcón. The new company is a joint venture between six partners, with the largest stakes being held by Ipiranga Petroquímica SA, a Brazilian high density polyethylene maker, and Petroquímica San Julio SA, an affiliate of the Chilean conglomerate Esquerdo/Menendez that manages this new business. Each company holds a 33.4 percent stake of Petroquim.
The remaining shares are divided among Chilean partners, including a steel company, a pension fund and two public oil refiners. Petroquim is based in Santiago.
The $120 million project will employ Montell's Spheripol technology, Ipiranga's marketing manager Jayme Moura said at a recent news conference at the firm's PÃ´rto Alegre headquarters.
``The unit has been structured to supply basically markets such as packaging, [synthetic] raffia and nonwovens, since Chile does not possess an automotive industry.''
The country's PP demand totals about 88.2 million pounds per year and is expected to reach roughly 154.3 million pounds when the plant starts up. Petroquim's marketing plans include exporting excess production to Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and also Asia.
Ipiranga's stake in this venture represents its first participation outside Brazil as a resin producer. Because of its geographical position—near Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile — the firm exports about 25 percent of its annual HDPE production capacity of 771.6 million pounds.
Ipiranga is a joint venture between Ipiranga Comercial Química SA, Hoechst do Brasil SA and other minority shareholders. The firm is building another PP plant in Brazil that also is slated to be launched in 1999. That $150 million facility will produce 330.7 million pounds per year of resin.
Conglomerate Esquerdo/Menendez of Santiago is in wood, fishing and paper industries, among others.