Kraton Performance Polymers Inc. has entered into a 50/50 joint-venture with Formosa Petrochemical Corp. (FPCC) to construct and operate a 30-kiloton hydrogenated styrenic block copolymer (HSBC) plant to be located in Mailiao, Taiwan. Kraton, a producer of styrenic block copolymers and FPCC, a Taiwanese petrochemicals and plastics manufacturer, expect to finalize documentation by December 31, with current plans to have the $165 to $200 million plant operational in the second half of 2013.
Kraton officials said in a release that the company is adding the capacity in response to "growth in global demand for our differentiated grades of HSBCs", noting that it undertook a one-year site-selection process. The FPCC petrochemical complex in Mailiao will provide the joint venture with on-site, feedstock inputs, including butadiene, as well as site services and utilities.
The design of the joint venture plant will incorporate Kraton's proprietary polymerization technology. The plant will be operated by the joint venture, with Kraton handling the global marketing of all products manufactured at the facility. Kraton's hydrogenated block copolymers are categorized as part of its A polymer series and have styrene copolymerized with ethylene/butylene in the midblock (S-(EB/S)-S).
Kraton says it offers approximately 800 products, with manufacturing and service capabilities on four continents. Production takes place at five plants globally, including the U.S. (Belpre, OH), Germany, France, Brazil, and Japan.
HSBC competitor, Kraiburg TPE expanded its U.S. production capacities in June 2007 adding a production line at its Duluth, GA plant that increased total capacity by about 30%. That site opened in 2002 with 15 employees, eventually expanding to 50. Dow Chemical opened a polyolefin-based elastomer facility in June in Thailand as part of a joint venture with Siam Cement Group.
In August 2010, Kraton began site-selection activities to identify options for building a new HSBC plant in Asia. The company had already relocated its Shanghai office to a new site that was double the size of the previous location. The company said the move was needed to better accommodate a growing staff, which had more than doubled in China since 2006.