Kuraray to increase output of EVOH in the US


Japanese chemicals firm Kuraray Co. is boosting the ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH resin; Kuraray trademark: EVAL) production capacity of Kuraray America, an indirectly wholly owned Kuraray subsidiary located in the US state of Texas, by 11,000 tonnes/year. Expanded facilities will start operations in mid-2018.

The company currently produces 47,000 tonnes/year and will increase it to 58,000 tonnes/year. With the enhanced capacity, its total output globally (together with the Belgian and Japanese facilities will be 103,000 tonnes/year). Kuraray says it was the first to commercialise this high-performance resin, which it launched in 1972. Kuraray estimates EVAL has an approximately 65% share of the global EVOH resin market.

With its gas barrier properties, EVAL demand continues to grow, particularly for food packaging applications that offer better food preservation and for automobile fuel tanks that effectively prevent hydrocarbon emissions. In recent years, EVAL applications have expanded to include agricultural and industrial products in addition to wallpaper, pipes for floor heating systems and vacuum insulation panels for refrigerators, says the company.

Previously, the increase in EVAL demand had been centered primarily in industrialised nations, such as Japan and the US as well as those in Europe. However, demand is now rising in emerging nations. To secure a stable supply structure, Kuraray has concluded that it is necessary to boost its EVAL production capacity.

The Kuraray Group outlined the deepening of its core businesses as one of the main management strategies of its GS-STEP medium-term management plan, which commenced in fiscal 2015. In the core vinyl acetate business, Kuraray is continuing to strengthen its base of operations globally as the No. 1 supplier. As for EVAL, with this enhancement, which follows on last year's production enhancement in Europe, Kuraray aims to expand its business as a leading company in the area of EVOH resin and barrier materials.

Borealis (PRA)

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