Portuguese investment firm ImatosGil Group has purchased a dormant specialty resin plant in Canada and plans to convert the site over to production of PET.
The plant in Montreal-East, Quebec had produced polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT), but shut down in March because of global overcapacity and weak demand, primarily from the carpet market. The 5-year-old plant was operated by PTT Poly Canada LP, a joint venture between Shell Chemicals Canada and the government of Quebec.
No purchase price was disclosed in the deal. In a news release, ImatosGil officials said the new business will operate as Selenis Canada and is expected to launch PET production in the third quarter of 2010. The reopened plant is expected to employ 60. ImatosGil also operates PET plants under the Selenis name in Europe.
The plant will have 265 million pounds of annual PET capacity, Selenis Canada CEO Giovanni Iadeluca said Dec. 10 by phone. Iadeluca previously had served as general manager of PTT Poly Canada.
He declined to provide an estimate of the cost of converting the plant to PET, but said there is minimal work to be done to make that change.
The Quebec plant's transition to PET is being made at a time when many market watchers believe there's already too much PET capacity in North America. Wellman Inc. and Invista closed three North American PET plants in late 2008, eliminating almost 1.5 billion pounds of annual capacity, and Eastman Chemical Co. temporarily has idled a major PET site in Columbia, S.C., as well. But at the same time, Indorama Polymers Public Co. Ltd. is in the process of opening a billion-pound-capacity plant in Decatur, Ala.
Industry sources estimate that North American PET demand could post its second consecutive decrease in 2009, largely as a result of decreased consumer demand and of light-weighting, which has allowed beverage bottles to be made with less resin.
Iadeluca said he's aware of those concerns.
There's overcapacity in specific [PET] markets, he said. But there's a geographic advantage to us being in Montreal, and we also plan to target some less exploited markets, such as packaging.
Geographically, Selenis Canada will focus its output on markets in Canada and in the northern U.S. The plant also has an advantage from sourcing the PET feedstocks paraxylene and purified terephthalic acid from local producers, Iadeluca added.
ImatosGil also owns a minority stake in European PET maker La Seda de Barcelona and has invested in PET production in Saudi Arabia as well.
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