The Dow Chemical Company yesterday officially inaugurated its new state-of-the-art polyether polyols plant at Asia Industrial Estate, Rayong, as part of its strategy of continued growth in Asia-Pacific.
The plant, which recently started operation, has a production capacity of up to 200,000 tonnes per year, adding to the 25,000 tonnes at Dow’s facility in Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, also in Rayong.
Utilising proven state-of-the-art catalyst technology, the new facility will deliver a local, high-quality, reliable supply of polyether polyols into a variety of consumer comfort and industrial applications, the company said.
It will increase Dow’s participation in one of the largest and fastest-growing regions in the world and solidifies its position as one of the key players in foam technology for furniture, mattresses and bedding, and in specialty markets like high-performing coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers serving the infrastructure, transportation and construction markets.
“This expansion is directly aligned to our long-term strategy to address customer demands and invest in high-value markets where our technology and services are differentiated,” said Glenn Wright, business president for Dow’s polyurethanes business.
The investment reflects Dow’s long-term commitment in Thailand and Asia-Pacific, he added.
Thailand is the largest Asia-Pacific manufacturing base for Dow, which is the world’s biggest producer of propylene oxide, propylene glycol and polyether polyols.
After entering the Thai market in 1967, it now has 15 petrochemical plants, of which six are its own investment and the rest are joint investments between Dow and SCG, and Dow and Solvay.
Bt97.82 bn invested since 1967
Jirasak Singmaneechai, managing director of Dow business operation in Thailand, said the US giant had now invested more than US$3 billion (Bt97.82 billion) since 1967.
Dow Thailand reported sales revenue of Bt102.96 billion for last year, which he said was targeted to expand by 10 to 15 per cent this year, excluding revenue from the new plant.
Peter Sykes, president of Dow Asia Pacific, added that given the pace of growth in Asia-Pacific, Dow was constantly striving to meet evolving market needs while identifying new ways to accelerate its own growth.
The successful start-up of the new polyol production facility further strengthens Dow presence in Asia-Pacific and enables it to better serve customers through providing competitive and innovative solutions to their needs, he said.
Dow has been established in Thailand for almost 50 years and it has been treated well throughout that time, which gives it confidence to steadily increase its investment in the country, he added.
During the period, Dow has seen all kinds of economic conditions in Thailand, including the country’s fast economic growth, the Asian economic crisis, and many things in between, yet it has always found that Thailand remains resilient, said Sykes.
The new polyol production site will mainly serve customers in Southeast Asia, China and India.
It is one in a recent series of global polyol investments announced in 2006 by Dow to deliver growth in targeted markets, with the first coming online in Freeport, Texas, late last year. The next is slated for full start-up in 2016 as part of the company’s Sadara joint venture with Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia, followed by another at the company’s Terneuzen site in the Netherlands.