Dow Chemical Co. has a busy agenda in India, where it plans to open a research and development center and start a polyurethanes blending site.
Dow hasn't determined the R&D location or a timetable, but Chief Technology Officer William Banholzer said it will be ``a major site.''
The blending facility will open near Mumbai, India, early next year, with as many as six production lines and 15 employees. It will serve mainly the automotive and appliance industries, said Vipul Shah, chief executive officer of South Asia for Dow Chemical International Pvt. Ltd. of Mumbai.
In four years, Dow's sales in India have increased 300 percent, and the market ``isn't close to maturing,'' Shah said at Plastindia 2006, held Feb. 9-14 in New Delhi.
Dow's South Asia region had 2005 sales of almost $400 million. Dow expects that total to hit $1 billion by 2010, with 40 percent in plastics.
``Based on demand, India will need four or five world-scale [ethylene] crackers by 2015,'' Shah said. ``But a lot of global polyethylene producers can't compete with domestic companies because of tariffs and other economic reasons. So if you're an outside producer, you need to look at value-added formulations.''
Midland, Mich.-based Dow's specialty lineup also is getting off the ground in India. Two grades of Versify propylene ethylene copolymers for stretch hood and stretch cling film were commercialized there late last year, and Engage polyolefin elastomers are being used in automotive.