GE Plastics is moving forward with projects in Spain and China.
In Cartagena, Spain, GE will open its second Lexan-brand polycarbonate plant by early 2005. The plant, with annual capacity of 286 million pounds, will bring the site's total annual PC capacity to 660 million pounds and lift GE's global PC capacity to more than 2.5 billion pounds annually.
Cartagena also will be the site of a new, world-scale plant for GE's Ultem-brand polyetherimide. No capacity has been set for the plant, which will open in 2007 and will create 120 new jobs. The plant will be GE's second global Ultem unit, joining a plant in Mount Vernon, Ind. The project is expected to cost about $350 million, according to the Spanish government.
In addition to PC production, GE compounds PC and PC/ABS in Cartagena.
A GE Plastics spokesman said Ultem's amorphous nature and good thermal properties have led to increased demand for the material in aircraft and automotive parts, telecommunications uses and electrical and lighting applications.
In Nansha, China, GE will double its compounding capacity by the end of 2004 in order to meet rising local demand. The site compounds GE Plastics' PC and ABS, as well as Noryl-brand polyphenylene oxide and Valox-brand polybutylene terephthalate.
No estimates for the cost of the expansion or the amount of job creation in China were available.
Through the first nine months of 2003, sales at GE Plastics were down 2 percent to $3.86 billion when compared to the same period in 2002. The unit's profit dropped 62 percent to $271 million in the same comparison.
Through September, GE Plastics had accounted for 4 percent of sales and 2 percent of profit for its parent firm, General Electric Co. of Fairfield, Conn.