Saudi Basic Industries Corp. isn't letting short-term economic woes slow down its global plans.
Petrochemicals company Sabic, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has contracted with warehouses in Texas and New Jersey to import commodity resins from its plants in the Middle East. By year's end, the firm's Sabic Innovative Plastics LP unit will open a new plant making Ultem-brand polyetherimide in Cartagena, Spain, and next month will expand engineering resin compounding capacity by 30 percent in Nansha, China.
Sabic intends to play a major role in shaping the plastics industry through innovation, said Sabic Vice Chairman and CEO Mohamed Al-Mady, at a June 22 news conference at NPE2009 in Chicago. We have a very important foundation for plastics growth.
In North America, Sabic is working with Antwerp, Belgium-based shipping firm Katoen Natie Houston in La Porte, Texas, and Mid State Packaging in Hillsborough, N.J., to import commodity polyolefins. Currently Sabic is importing less than 10 million pounds of polyolefins annually into the region, according to Sabic Americas General Manager Fahad Al-Swailem.
Al-Mady said that amount is expected to increase.
The U.S. is going to be a net importer of polymers in the future, and Sabic is capable of fulfilling these requirements, he said. Our strategy for selling polymers in the Americas is still evolving. We're looking to find the best combination of logistics and service for our customers.
We're investing heavily to improve our supply chain in the Americas, added polymers Vice President Khaled Al-Mana. It's a long supply chain, and warehouses will allow us to be closer to our customers.
Globally, Sabic is adding more polyolefin capacity in Saudi Arabia this year and will begin polycarbonate production there by the end of 2010, officials said. The firm also plans to build an ABS resin plant and smaller compounding plants for PC and ABS.
At NPE, Sabic's 8,800-square-foot booth was the largest of any materials supplier at the show.
In spite of global economic troubles, we still have a vibrant and enormous growth opportunity, said Sabic IP President and CEO Charlie Crew.
Crew cited Sabic IP's efforts in product and process technology as a means of reaching new markets. The firm also now is marketing Sabic PP to its automotive customers, along with Sabic IP's line of engineering resins.
There's a lot more penetration we can do, Crew said.
Sabic IP's recently signed deal with Ashland Distribution allows [Sabic IP] to get out and visit more customers because of Ashland's great network in the Americas, Crew said.
Sabic IP employs about 9,000 worldwide and has annual sales estimated at more than $6 billion.