Specialty materials firm Kraton Corp. will open a new plant making hydrogenated styrenic block copolymers in Taiwan on May 12.
The plant — co-owned by Formosa Petrochemical Corp. of Taiwan — will be located in Mailiao and will have annual production capacity of almost 70 million pounds. It will support Kraton's innovation-grade business, particularly low molecular weight HSBC products, officials with Houston-based Kraton said in a May 9 news release.
“This has been a long effort,” President and CEO kevin Fogarty said May 10 from Taiwan. “We had our first meetings about this in 2008 or 2009, then we had three or four years of construction.”
HSBC polymers provide toughness and clarity in olefin-based compounds used in automotive, medical and film applications, they added.
The plant will employ about 100 and will include a process and product lab that can make low viscosity products. In a news release, Fogarty said that the new site “will enable Kraton to serve the growing Asian and export markets more effectively than ever before through higher production capacity of our differentiated grades of HSBC.”
The new plant “will make very soft materials, that are difficult to make,” he added May 10. “These materials can be a substitute for PVC in cases where PVC can't meet criteria.”
Fogarty said that Kraton is still seeing double-digit growth for its products in Asia, but he pointed out that the firm “isn't in low-end markets” there.
Kraton's polymers are used in a wide range of applications, including adhesives, coatings, consumer and personal care products, sealants and lubricants, and paving and roofing applications. The firm posted sales of more than $1.7 billion in 2016.
In late 2015, Kraton spent almost $1.4 billion to acquire Arizona Chemical Holdings Corp., a major producer of specialty resins and chemicals based on pine wood. Fogarty said Kraton is in “execution mode” on that deal and will need to pay off some debt related to the acquisition beofre looking at any future deals.