Sabic/SK Chemical plant ground breaking; Sabic rebrands Innovative plastics unit

Riyadh-headquartered Sabic and South Korean petrochemical company SK Global Chemical’s 50-50 joint venture holding company, Sabic SK Nexlene Company (SSNC), recently broke ground on a new plant to manufacture a range of PE products using the Nexlene technology. SSNC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Korea Nexlene Company (KNC), owns the plant in Ulsan, South Korea, which has an annual capacity of 230,000 tonnes. The aggregate purchase price for the technology and plant is approximately US$640 million. The companies had announced the joint venture in July this year. http://www.plasticsandrubberasia.com/july2015/materials10.html

The plant will produce metallocene linear low density polyethylene (mLLDPE), polyolefin plastomers (POP) and polyolefin elastomers (POE). The company says that the properties and characteristics of products using Nexlene technology offer a range of possibilities for the development of innovative product and differentiated applications, with the packaging industry to benefit from mLLDPE to manufacture flexible food packaging and wrapping materials; exceptional heat-sealing properties of POP to improve a variety of packaging products that require low temperature sealing, adhesion, and optics as well as elasticity properties from POE. The industries benefitting from these properties include the automotive industry, consumer products like footwear, and wire and cable for the utility and construction industries.

Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh, Sabic Polymers Executive Vice President, said the new plant would enable both partners to grow in the highly specialised PE market.

“The products that will be coming from this plant will provide high-value polymer products to global customers,” he said. “With Nexlene Solution Technology, Sabic now has access to the most complete PE technology platforms within the petrochemical industry.”

In addition to the new manufacturing facility, Sabic and SK inaugurated a new R&D facility in Daejeon, South Korea. It will feature departments focusing on process development, as well as catalyst and product development. The centre will also sponsor and oversee research programmes at universities and third party facilities in South Korea and around the world.

Sabic rebrands and reorganises

In other news, Sabic is restructuring to create what it says will be a more cost-efficient, and customer-focused organisation structure that is expected to be in place by 1 January 2016. The reorganisation follows the challenges Sabic is facing in the context of its 2025 strategy as well as changes in the market landscape, and the need to drive technology and innovation. To meet these needs, the company is optimising its existing portfolio while at the same time investing in the innovations that are necessary for future growth.

As a result of this corporate overhaul, the commodity products of the Innovative Plastics Strategic Business Unit (SBU) will now be housed in the Chemicals and Polymers SBUs. The remaining Innovative Plastics’ solutions will fall under a newly created SBU called Specialties. This business will serve as the exclusive home for Sabic speciality solutions. Along with the Performance Chemicals SBU, the portfolio of which was reallocated earlier, the Innovative Plastics SBU will no longer exist.

According to Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, Acting Vice Chairman/CEO of Sabic, one of the drivers of this change is the differing technology priorities of commodity and speciality businesses. “The future of the commodity line will depend heavily on innovations around advancing feedstock technology. Speciality products face separate technology challenges, including the need to seek out technology acquisitions and partnerships or joint ventures that can enrich Sabic’s existing portfolio,” he adds.


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