SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — Resin consumption continues to grow in Brazil, totaling 7.3 billion pounds in 1998, up from 6.7 billion pounds a year ago, according to a recent study conducted by Abiquim, the Brazilian chemical industry association.
Plastics consumption per capita increased from 42.2 pounds to 46.9 pounds from 1997-98, according to the Brazilian molders association, Abiplast.
To meet growing demand, several resin makers are expanding production capacities this year:
Ipiranga Petroquimica SA, headquartered in Porto Alegre, is concluding a $120 million investment to start producing polypropylene in May. The 330 million-pound-per-year facility is in Triunfo, in southern Brazil, where the company already makes high density PE.
In June, Ipiranga also plans to debut a 330 million-pound-per-year high/linear low density PE swing unit. That facility cost $150 million.
OPP Petroquimica SA is putting $190 million into an HDPE/LLDPE plant in Triunfo. With a 573 million-pound-per-year capacity, the unit will be inaugurated in June. OPP's headquarters are in Sao Paulo.
Proppet S/A, a new company based in Camacari, in April will open an $89 million, 132 million-pound-per-year PET plant.
BASF SA just expanded its polystyrene facility in Sao Jose dos Campos. The unit's capacity jumped from 110 million to 132 million pounds per year.
The SÃo Bernardo do Campo-based affiliate of BASF AG of Ludwigshafen, Germany, also plans to start compounding nylon 6 and nylon 6/6 in Brazil.
According to the plastics director for South America, Jose de Santa Rita Vaz, BASF imports 8.8 million to 11 million pounds of nylon compound to Brazil annually, primarily for automotive and electronic applications.
``We want to add value to product, now that importing has become more expensive,'' Vaz said.
In addition to nylon, the company imports ABS, acrylic styrene acrylonitrile and polybutylene terephthalate resins to Brazil. The resin maker said it may color ABS locally.
BASF also said it plans to import nylon resin from the United States and Europe, and to sublet the capacity of a local compounding firm.
The company still is studying whether it will acquire new equipment to install at the compounding plant.