Pittsburgh-based Nova Chemicals Corp. has formed a joint venture with India's largest private company to manufacture expanded polystyrene-based, energy-efficient building products for India's fast-growing commercial construction industry.
Mumbai, India-based Reliance Industries Ltd.'s Reliance Retail division will use Nova's Performance Styrenics technology to manufacture products like insulating concrete forms, structural insulated panels and metal space frames that will be used for building large retail stores in India.
The venture is expected to be operational by the third quarter.
There is a major transformation going on in the Indian economy, from mom-and-pop retailers to a more Western model, with big-box stores and large warehouse and distribution centers, said Greg Wilkinson, Nova's vice president of public affairs, in a May 1 telephone interview.
``India has a $60 billion construction market that is growing at about 20 percent per year. The potential for energy-efficient buildings in India is very exciting, and these systems are an excellent fit for Reliance Retail's strategy,'' Nova President Chris Pappas said in a news release.
It is still early in the process, and officials of the joint venture have yet to decide where specifically to open the new EPS plant. Wilkinson said the companies are targeting northern India, in the general vicinity of New Delhi.
Nova already has similar ventures where the company is building virtually identical products in Mexico and Chile, Wilkinson said.
``All of the products we're talking about using in India, we're already using directly, or through partners or joint ventures, in other parts of the world,'' he said.
Extremely high energy costs and a tight labor market, combined with the fast-growing segment, are going to provide good business opportunities, officials said.
``The Indian labor market is, perhaps surprisingly, quite tight. Therefore, a building system that uses less skilled labor is even more attractive,'' Wilkinson said.
The companies have not yet named the joint venture, he said.