Additives maker SI Group is opening a new plant making Weston 705-brand antioxidants in Danyang, China.
The plant will begin making the liquid phosphite antioxidant in May, official with Schenectady, N.Y.-based SI said April 14 during a media conference call. The call was held during the Chinaplas 2021 trade show, which was being held in Shenzhen.
"This is an investment we're making around having a global presence and local manufacturing," senior vice president Joey Gullion said. "It's one more step toward our goal of putting manufacturing where growth is."
Previously, SI had supplied the Chinese market with Weston 705 from a U.S. plant in Morgantown, W.Va. Officials declined to provide production or investment details for the Danyang plant. Gullion said the process of getting some regulatory approvals was slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic, but SI "had done most of the legwork" for the plant before the pandemic.
Plastic solutions Vice President Chuck Reardon described Weston 705 as "a next-generation antioxidant" that can improve performance in polyethylene and elastomers. The material meets most food contact standards and also offers lower discoloration.
"We're driving to become the partner of choice," Reardon said.
SI recently reorganized its business model from a focus on products to a focus on markets. This move was made after the firm's merger with additives maker Addivant in 2018. New York private equity firm SK Capital Partners bought SI that year and combined it with Addivant, which it had owned since 2013.
"We reorganized during COVID, and it's been well-received by our customers," Gullion said. "We're starting to see the benefits."
He added that SI will continue to be active in the mergers and acquisitions market to meet its goal of becoming "a global additives powerhouse."
In addition to antioxidants, SI sells light stabilizers, impact modifiers and similar products into plastics markets. The firm also makes a variety of specialty chemicals for other markets, including rubber and adhesives, fuels and lubricants, oilfield and pharmaceutical.
SI employs more than 3,000 at more than 30 manufacturing sites. The firm has annual sales of around $2 billion. SI parent firm SK Capital also owns plastic materials firms Ascend Performance Materials, Geon Performance Solutions and Techmer PM.