NatureWorks LLC, the world’s leading bioplastics manufacturer, announced today that Thailand’s largest chemical producer, PTT Chemical Public Company Limited (PTT Chemical) is investing US$150 million in NatureWorks. NatureWorks supplies its broad family of renewable Ingeo biopolymers made from plants to plastics and fibers markets worldwide. PTT Chemical’s investment in NatureWorks, until now wholly owned by Cargill, is subject to regulatory approval.
“The Thai Government encourages an investment in green chemicals, and particularly bioplastics, which have high growth potential in the Southeast Asian market,” said Thailand’s Minister of Energy H.E. Mr. Pichai Naripthaphan. “By attracting what could be the most advanced biopolymer processing plant in the world to Thailand, PTT Chemical has made a significant step in achieving Thailand’s strategic objectives of becoming a regional hub for green technologies and solutions.”
“This is a significant investment by a leading chemical company, which will allow NatureWorks to continue its aggressive growth while expanding its capacity to meet global demand for bio-based products. PTT Chemical’s investment demonstrates a significant milestone in moving Ingeo bio-based plastics and fibers to the polymer mainstream,” said Marc Verbruggen, president and chief executive officer of NatureWorks. “PTT Chemical’s investment supports NatureWorks intent to globalize its Ingeo manufacturing capability by building a new production facility in Thailand, supporting our Asian customer base and delivering on our commitment to renewable feedstock diversification. We anticipate bringing the new plant online in 2015 and expect to announce further details on this expansion later this year.”
“This investment will strengthen PTT Chemical’s green growth strategy towards sustainable development by integrating more renewable and environmentally friendly materials in its portfolio, while offering more green product choices to the customer to fulfill our responsibility as the ‘Power for a Sustainable Future’ for Thailand and all stakeholders,” said Mr. Nuttachat Charuchinda, the chief operating officer, Downstream Petroleum Business Group of PTT Public Company Limited. “PTT Chemical is keen to play a role in pioneering a world-scale bioplastics industry with the aim to become a global leader by 2020 and push Thailand to become an Asian bio-hub.”
“PTT Chemical reinforces NatureWorks’ leadership position and proven track record in bringing cost effective biopolymer innovations to the global marketplace,” said Mr. Veerasak Kositpaisal, president and chief executive officer of PTT Chemical. “NatureWorks is currently the forefront producer of bio-based products with commercially viable production volumes, competitive costing and a global customer base. Our investment in the company and its Ingeo technology platform for plastics and fibers is in line with our long-term strategic green growth and diversification objectives.”
“Ingeo offers the performance of conventional plastics and fibers with a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions and lower non-renewable energy requirements. Because it is made from renewable plant material, Ingeo has inherently more stable pricing, contrasting sharply to the massive price swings observed from fossil based polymers,” explained Mr. Kositpaisal.
Over the past several years, NatureWorks has seen steady 25- to 30-percent increases in annual product demand. In the last two years, NatureWorks doubled its Ingeo supply availability by bringing online additional production capacity at its Blair, Neb., processing facility.
“The proposed new Ingeo facility in Thailand would be NatureWorks’ second production plant,” Marc Verbruggen added.
More than 100 leading consumer brands and retailers in the United States, Europe and Asia currently offer Ingeo based product innovations in such categories as flexible and rigid packaging, food serviceware, durable consumer products, apparel, home textiles and personal care and hygiene products. An Ingeo innovation display gallery, presented in conjunction with last year’s COP16 climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, showcased a selection of commercially available, low-carbon-footprint Ingeo products produced by such international brands as Avianca, Electrolux, Henkel, NEC, Shiseido, Stonyfield and Walmart.
About NatureWorks LLC
NatureWorks LLC is a company dedicated to meeting the world’s needs today without compromising the earth’s ability to meet the needs of tomorrow. With a current Ingeo capacity of 140,000 tons, NatureWorks LLC is the first company to offer a family of commercially available low carbon footprint biopolymers derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources with performance and economics that compete with oil-based plastics and fibers. NatureWorks production of Ingeo uses significantly less non-renewable energy, and generates significantly lower CO2 emissions than all traditional oil based polymers. NatureWorks remains wholly owned by Cargill pending regulatory approval of the agreement.
About PTT Chemical plc
PTT Chemical Public Company Limited is a fully-integrated petrochemical and chemical company, combining visionary leadership and innovation in the chemical industry. PTT Chemical aspires to develop sustainable growth based on social benefit and global environmental standards under its vision to be the “Leading chemical company for better living through innovative technology and people.
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 131,000 people in 66 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to sharing our global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges.
Cargill was advised in this transaction by J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.
Source: NatureWorks LLC, press release, 2011-07-06.