South Korean polymer additives maker Songwon Industrial Co. Ltd. at Chinaplas 2011 reported continued progress in its push into China and into other growth markets such as the Middle East, India and South America.
Chairman and President Jongho Park said the firm's Songwon Baifu Chemical Co. Ltd. joint venture with Tangshan Baifu Chemical Co. Ltd. to make and sell thioester antioxidants and will be fully incorporated by midyear with a fully backward integrated capacity of 13.2 million pounds. Songwon announced the venture only a year ago.
The operation also will provide thioester antioxidant products to other key regions, beyond China. Park sees great potential for what he called specialty antioxidants in the huge China market — for engineering thermoplastics and other materials, beyond the traditional polyolefins base.
“We are very pleased with the progress we have made in China in such a short time”, said Park, a 39-year-old former Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. official who has held his current posts since 2006. He noted that Songwon will add a full analytical laboratory in Shanghai by the end of 2011. Plans call for that facility to become a center of excellence for specialty chemical analysis, while also providing quality control for sourced products. Park said the new lab — to be sited at Songwon's existing facility in Shanghai — will grow into application development work.
He expects the expansion to add about 20 new positions.
“We are also establishing long-term relationships with home-based suppliers to ensure a secure stream of raw materials, intermediates and finished products that meet our high standards and competitive market position,” Park said in a prepared release.
Songwon also is moving forward with its previously announced polymer stabilizers joint venture in Dudhola, India, called Songwon HPL Additives Pvt. Ltd., though creating the legal structure has taken longer than he expected. That deal, announced last October at Germany's K show, now should become official in the third quarter of 2011. He termed activity in the growing Indian market as “very busy.”
At the original HPL announcement, Park indicated the Indian venture would serve as a vehicle for investment in the Middle East. That appears to be coming to fruition, as he said May 18 in Guangzhou that Songwon is “ready to announce soon” its Middle East strategy, adding only that it may be either a joint venture or a cooperation deal.
The Ulsan, South Korea, firm's wholly owned, Hong Kong- based investment arm, Songwon China Ltd., is providing financial support to the new China venture and other corporate initiatives.
Songwon reported global sales of about 550 billion Korean won ($508 million) in 2010, Park said the firm's sales for January through April already exceed $200 million, and that the company projects double-digit sales growth for all of 2011. Songwon says it is a solid No. 2 globally in polymer additives, after Germany's BASF SE, which acquired Switzerland's Ciba Holding AG in late 2008 in a deal valued at more than $5.5 billion.