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Mitsui Chemicals, Teijin merge domestic PET operations

Tough competition coupled with stagnant demand growth is changing the face of the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supply chain. With Japan's PET processors increasingly able to source PET from other Asian countries, and demand growth no longer as high as it once was, the two suppliers announced a basic agreement to form a joint venture that will integrate their domestic PET operations.

The new JV has not yet been named but will be run out of Mitsui's headquarters in Tokyo. Mitsui Chemicals Inc. (MCI) has various PET-related operations, including the production of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), while Teijin produces paraxylene (PX), a raw material used in the production of PTA, as well as produces bottle-grade PET for distribution by Teijin Chemicals Ltd.

MCI will own 80% of the venture, Teijin the remaining 20%. Annual bottle-grade PET capacity is about 145,000 tonnes.

Under the newly announced agreement, the JV will integrate production, marketing and sales, and production technology.

The merger will provide MCI with a stable supply of PX and create a stable domestic purchaser for Teijin's PX. The venture is officially to take life on April 1, 2011 or earlier, pending approval by Japan's competition authorities.

Upon establishment of the new company, Teijin will end manufacture of bottle-grade PET at its Tokuyama facility.

PET demand has slowed in North America as well, prompting Eastman Chemical to put its PET supply business up for sale, and for Invista also to consider the sale of its PET operation there. Eastman has already parted with its non-North American PET plants. [email protected]

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