DuPont Co. expects to announce the location of a 400 million-pound PET bottle resin plant by the end of 1998, said a company executive who addressed a Florida conference Jan. 27.
Kenneth Sangster, DuPont's global business director for polyester resins and chemicals, said in a Jan. 30 interview from England that DuPont ``is mapping out what its future looks like'' six months after its blockbuster acquisition of Imperial Chemical Industries plc's PET film, polymer and raw materials businesses.
Sangster first addressed DuPont's plans at Nova-Pack Americas '98 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
``We are now a fully integrated polyester business enterprise that can fight and win in the polyester industry from PET resin to films and fibers,'' he said. ``To go into the new millennium, you have to be integrated to compete, especially with the Asian businesses.''
DuPont of Wilmington, Del., was already the world's largest PET film maker at the time of the $3 billion deal with ICI, which ranked fourth in global PET film production. DuPont previously had focused its PET resin efforts in specialty, nonbottle markets.
Since mid-1997, DuPont has been operating a $10 million pilot plant in Old Hickory, Tenn., that utilizes its NG3 technology, which Sangster described as ``step-out technology'' for PET that significantly lowers both capital and operating costs.
``The pilot plant has been running and running satisfactorily,'' Sangster said. ``But it would be a bit premature to say where the full-scale plant will be located. We have to think carefully about where we want to position the new technology.''
In the meantime, DuPont will move ahead with planned debottlenecking at the PET plants it acquired from ICI in Fayetteville, N.C., and Wilton, England. At least one of those plants will undergo a 110 million-pound debottlenecking in 1998, Sangster said.
DuPont is confident of its PET bottle resin effort, even during a time when many multinational companies are moving away from commodities-oriented businesses, said Sangster.
``This is not going to be achieved in a few months, but we're committed to the future of the polyester industry,'' Sangster said.