One of Asia's leading suppliers of polyethylene and petrochemicals, Thailand's PTT Chemical, is investing $150 million in NatureWorks, the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based supplier of the Ingeo brand of polylactic acid-based bioplastics. NatureWorks has been actively searching for a site in Asia for a new facility and now also announced that Thailand is the preferred location for its next Ingeo manufacturing facility. Steve Davies, global director for marketing and public relations at NatureWorks, told PlasticsToday that when the deal finalizes, PTT Chemical will hold a 50% stake in the company, splitting ownership with agricultural giant, Cargill.
"[This investment] is a great vote of confidence from, really, the mainstream chemicals industry," Davies told PlasticsToday. "We're no longer owned by somebody seen as an agricultural guy, Cargill, we're part of the mainstream." Davies alluded to past NatureWorks investors with petrochemical ties, namely Dow and Teijin, but added that this time is different. "With PTT investing to help us build a second site and really accelerate our growth, it's exciting."