Thai chemical company Indorama Ventures Public Co Ltd (IVL) and South Korea's Huvis Corp (HC) have announced plans to form a 50/50 joint venture to develop, construct and operate a low melting fiber (LMF) plant in the U.S.
In a Jan. 16 statement, the Bangkok-based chemical company said the location of the plant is “being finalized” and that the JV was expected to be established in 2018, and operational in 2019.
The process is subject to various agreements and regulatory approvals as may be applicable.
The plant will have the capacity to produce 60 kilotonnes of LMF, which is commonly used as a binder fiber in core-sheath constructions.
According to IVL, the initial volumes of LMF will be sold in the U.S. domestic market, with its new low tax environment. The company can also see potential to “significantly expand” its scope into neighboring regions over time.
LMF sales, said the Thai supplier, are expanding at a rate of 8 percent a year as manufacturers convert from conventional chemical adhesives to a thermobonding method.
LMF applications include automotive and industrial composites such as wadding, insulation, filtration, automotive acoustic insulation material and other products where heat is used to bond the fibers.
The decision to form the joint venture builds upon IVL's successful feedstock integration strategy and its focus on expanding its high value-added portfolio.
Commenting on this collaboration, Indorama CEO Aloke Lohia said the partnership would be a “strategic step” for both companies to “emerge as a regional leader.”
“This is an exceptional opportunity for both companies to provide unique value for customers, and bring new exciting fibers and composites solutions to market,” he added.
Huvis is a Korea-based joint venture between SK Chemicals and Samyang Corp. and is a leading polyester fibers producer.
The company is focused on differentiated, specialty polyester fibers and, according to IVL, is known for its “best-in-class” technology in specialty conjugate fibers such as LMF market.
Also commenting on the cooperation, Shin You Dong, CEO of Huvis said, his company believed in “Glocalization strategy” to serve customers' needs on more efficiently and cost-competitively.
He said his company would continue to extend relationship with IVL to seek more synergies in other interesting polyester fiber markets with strong growth potential.