DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Nov. 12, 1:50 p.m. EST) — Undeterred by difficult business conditions, Dow Plastics and Asahi Chemical Industry Co. are building a polystyrene resin plant in China, and Dow just started a PS production line in Brazil.
To be called Styron Asia Ltd., the greenfield facility in Zhanghiagang, China, near Shanghai, will begin operating next year with an annual capacity of about 265 million pounds. The 50-50 venture will complement Dow's PS output in Hong Kong, said Clay Dunn, Dow's Midland, Mich.-based global vice president for polystyrene.
“The market demand is there,” Dunn said, noting that Dow plans to build latex and epoxy plants on the same site.
The PS investment in China will be “less than $100 million,” he said, and will give Dow some 1.32 billion pounds of its own PS capacity in the Asia-Pacific region. That does not include another 1.1 billion pounds of PS capacity managed by an Asahi Chemical/Mitsubishi Corp. joint venture in Japan, with which Dow has a marketing agreement.
Late last month, Dow also started a new line with 265 million pounds per year of swing capacity at its plant in Guaruja, Brazil. Dunn said that investment was designed more to modernize and boost production flexibility at the facility than it was to add capacity. The unit will make high-impact PS, general-purpose grades, and Dow's Styron A-Tech advanced resins. Combined with its existing PS capacity in Cartagena, Colombia, Dow now has 595 million pounds of PS capacity in Latin America.