BUENOS AIRES (June 20, 1:30 p.m. ET) — DAK Americas should introduce production in Argentina of its heat-set Laser+HS PET resin for hot-fill applications by the end of this year or early 2013, the company said at Argenplás.
DAK is eager to stimulate new uses for PET in a market where traditional demand appears to be slowing, company executives said.
Since acquiring its PET plant in Argentina from Eastman Chemical Co., DAK's local production has been limited to its Laser+ PET and Laser+ RF PET resins. The RF version is for making refillable containers.
The company's Laser+HS resin, long available from the United States, is now being reviewed by key clients in Argentina, including Coca-Cola Co. DAK has been told by one local client that approval should come by year's end.
DAK wants to help stimulate hot-fill potential in Argentina and neighboring markets, where it has seen PET consumption approach a ceiling of sorts in recent years. Argentina consumed 207,210 metric tons of PET in 2011, down from 214,489 tons the year prior, according to Argentina's Plastics Industry Chamber, or CAIP.
As the only PET producer in Argentina, DAK's production capacity of 185,000 tons per year is nearly maxed out, with the company serving about 65 percent of domestic consumption, and imports serving the remaining third. Per capita consumption of PET in Argentina is about 4.5 kilos per year, one of the higher rates in South America but lower than Mexico's benchmark rate of 6-plus kilos per year.
Adding new products in Argentina should broaden the pool for PET demand from local clients, said Hector Camberos, president of DAK Americas Argentina. New applications will be necessary in South American markets as DAK sees clients trying to do more with less, like forming thinner bottles for savings and green marketing.
Looking ahead, Camberos said DAK Americas Argentina is working towards incorporating recycled materials into a single pellet solution within five years. The company plans to have 20 percent of its resin sourced from local recyclables, Camberos said, and can model this Argentina effort after its PET recycling plant joint venture with Shaw Industries in the U.S.
DAK Americas purchased its PET plants in Zarate, Argentina, and Cosoleacaque, Mexico, in 2008 from Eastman. The company operates PET plants in the U.S. in Charleston, S.C., and Wilmington and Fayetteville, N.C., and sports a global annual PET production capacity of 1.945 million tons per year.
DAK is part of the Alpek unit of Mexican conglomerate Alfa SAB de CV. Alpek's other products include polypropylene, expanded polystyrene, nylon and nylon feedstock caprolactam.
Argenplás is taking place June 18-22 in Buenos Aires.