Arkema to invest in biosourced PA11 chain in Asia; investment of EUR300 mn


Eager to sustain its customers’ strong growth, in particular in automotive, 3D-printing, and in consumer goods markets such as sports and electronics, French materials firm Arkema says it will invest EUR300 million over five years in the biosourced polyamide (PA) 11 chain. This major investment will enable the group to increase by 50% its PA11 global production capacities. The project falls in line with Arkema’s strategy to speed up its development in advanced materials, one of the key pillars of its future growth, sustained by a unique portfolio of innovations around the main sustainable development trends.

Though it did not mention a location, Arkema says over the next five years it will build in Asia a world-scale plant dedicated to producing its Rilsan PA11 biosourced polyamide from castor oil. The new plant, which will produce both the amino 11 monomer and its polymer, Rilsan PA11, should come on stream in late 2021. It will enable Arkema to increase by 50% its Rilsan PA11 (powder and granule) production capacity.

Arkema did open a plant in Zhangjiagang, China, for Rilsan in 2013.

The investment also includes a 50% increase in global production capacities for Pebax, in particular Pebax RNew of which amino 11 is a key component. Pebax RNew is a biosourced polyamide elastomer with properties such as energy return and flexibility, earmarked in particular for the sports and electronics markets.

With this upcoming plant, Arkema will have a second amino 11 monomer production site, complementing its historical plants site in Marseille, France.

Arkema says its Rilsan PA11 is the only high performance 100% biosourced polyamide to qualify for exacting applications in particular in the electronics, 3D-printing and automotive markets, where it serves as a metal substitute.

This investment illustrates what Arkema says is it long-term commitment to fulfil strong demand from its customers in Asia by offering biosourced solutions to the key challenges of lightweighting and design of materials. Over the next few years, annual growth of some 7% is forecast in these markets in Asia.

With this project, the speciality polyamides business, which already achieves 40% of its sales in Asia, will bolster its industrial, commercial and R&D presence in the region.

This project is consistent with Arkema’s ambitious strategy to significantly step up the development of its advanced materials, which should eventually account for over 25% of sales, while continuing to further consolidate its presence in Asia.


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