Concentrates maker Ingenia Polymers Corp. of Houston plans to build a plant in the Middle East to meet local needs.
John Lefas, Ingenia president and chief executive officer, said the plant in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, will begin operating in 18 months, making masterbatches, compounds and superblends.
Lefas did not disclose capacity, but said the facility will be similar in size to its North American sites. The combined capacity of Ingenia's plants in Brantford, Ontario; Calgary, Alberta; and Houston totals 300 million pounds per year.
``We are following our customers to the region,'' he said in an interview May 2 at Plast-Ex 2007 in Toronto.
Some major materials producers have set up production facilities in the Middle East. Local governments have started advising plastic processors to increase local production to supply domestic market.
``Saudi Arabia has a very young population,'' he said. ``They need jobs.''
Ingenia is also looking to leverage the Dammam plant to enter fast-growing markets like Turkey and Egypt. India is hard to break into, Lefas said.
The company's Middle East output will not be shipped back to North America, where it already has sufficient capacity, with expansions on the way, he said.
Ingenia is investing about $500,000 to add a 100 million-pound-per-year carbon black line in Houston. The new line will make high-end carbon black polyolefins for applications in pipe, wire and cable.
A smaller expansion also will take place in Brantford to add production flexibility, he said.