Mitsubishi Plastics Inc. plans to open a PET film plant in China, its first in the country, prompted by growing demand in the flat-panel display market for television screens and computer monitors.
The 24 billion yen ($288 million) facility in Suzhou, China, will start operating in April 2013 with a single line with capacity of 49.6 million pounds, the company said in a Sept. 29 announcement.
MPI, based in Tokyo, plans to add a second line in April 2015 and double capacity to 99 million pounds.
The company has been rapidly expanding capacity for PET film for that market this year. It announced in March that it had completed a 176 million-pound PET film plant in Santo, Japan, which it said is the largest single PET film facility in the world.
The flat-panel display market is ''likely to have steady growth'' as new plants for liquid-crystal screen manufacturers are expected to come on-stream in 2012, Mitsubishi said.
The China capacity will be new, and not a shift of manufacturing from other locations, a company spokesman said.
When the Suzhou plant starts, Mitsubishi said its lines are expected to be the largest for optical PET film in the world. The firm said it expects to open a sales and service subsidiary in Suzhou in January.
In a March announcement about the Santo site, Mitsubishi said optical-grade PET film demand started recovering from the global financial crisis in spring 2009 and supplies were tight.
The Suzhou plant is expected to have annual sales of 20 billion yen ($240 million) when fully operational.
The company also has PET film plants in Germany, the United States and Indonesia.