CHINA: Vinythai to build Bt7.2bn chemical plant in China

Vinythai produces and markets a wide range of PVC resins as well as caustic soda for customers across Asia.

Epichlorohydrin is a highly reactive compound used in the production of glycerol, plastics, epoxy glues and resins, and elastomers. Epoxy resin is used as a coating to prevent rust in electronic products, automobiles, aeroplanes and wind turbines used to produce electricity.

Kearns said the plant would use Epicero technology to produce 100,000 tonnes of the compound a year. Investment will be complete by the middle of 2014.

The company spent Bt4.5 billion to build an epichlorohydrin plant with production capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year in Thailand last year. The local plant will start to operate at full capacity in 2013.

"Our investment will support demand growth in China and the Asean market," he said.

He added that demand for epichlorohydrin in China grows by an average of 8 per cent a year, accounting for about 35 per cent of the demand in the world market. As a result, the company decided to expand its new production plant in China. "When our plant in China is complete in mid-2014, we will be the second biggest producer of epichlorohydrin in Asia," Kearns said.

The Epicero technology, developed by Belgium's Solvay SA, is touted as environmentally friendly. The technology produces epichlorohydrin from glycerin, a by-product of bio-diesel and
palm-oil based oleochemicals (chemicals derived from plant and animal fats). It is claimed that Epicero production reduces greenhouse-gas emissions by 60 per cent compared to the regular production process.

Bruno van der Wielen, managing director of Vinythai and Advanced Biochemical (Thailand) Co Ltd, said the company has implemented a 2009-2013 plan to reduce energy expenses by Bt555 million. So far, the company has succeeded in reducing its energy consumption by Bt400 million.

Vinythai has a plant at Map Ta Phut in Rayong province. The company recorded total revenue of Bt14.19 billion and net profit of Bt1.9 billion in 2011. In the first half of this year, total
revenue was Bt8.2 billion and net profit Bt1.03 billion. Its main income generators are caustic soda, vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and ethylene dichloride (ECD).

Source: Daily "The Nation", Bangkok; 21 Sept 2012

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)