HOUSTON (Nov. 15, 10:15 a.m. ET) — After a two-year wait, Ingenia Polymers Corp. has opened a compounding plant in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia.
Houston-based Ingenia opened the plant in October. One production line is currently running, and a second should be in operation by the end of the year, president and CEO John Lefas said in a recent phone interview.
The 150,000-square-foot plant employs 50, with that number possibly increasing to 100 in 2012. The site is making compounds based on polyethylene and polypropylene.
“I guess I like challenges,” Lefas said when asked about his decision to place a plant in the Middle East. “I visited there and liked what I saw. This was a big project for us, so it took a little more time than we expected.”
Lefas originally had hoped to open the Saudi plant in mid-2009. Material made at the plant will be sold into markets in the Middle East, as well as in India and China. Ingenia already operates compounding plants in Houston; Brantford, Ontario; and Calgary, Alberta.
In Houston, Ingenia recently installed a new line making specialty additive concentrates. The addition allowed the firm to add 6-8 new jobs. The firm is on track to achieve double-digit sales growth in 2011, Lefas said, thanks to a strong year in automotive-based work and in toll compounding.
Lefas founded Ingenia, first known as Wedtech Inc., in Brantford in 1986, adding the Calgary plant in 1989 and the Houston site in 2000. Prior to the start, he had spent several years in the Toronto area for Exxon Chemical Co. Today, Ingenia generates about half of its sales from proprietary products and the other half from tolling work that it does for major resin makers.