NatureWorks attracts $150 million equity investment
NatureWorks LLC (www.natureworksllc.com) announced that Thailand’s largest chemical producer, PTT Chemical Public Company Limited (PTT Chemical; www.pttchemgroup.com) is investing US$150 million in NatureWorks. NatureWorks supplies its broad family of renewable Ingeo biopolymers made from plants to plastics and fibers markets worldwide. PTT Chemical’s investment in NatureWorks, until now wholly owned by Cargill (www.Cargill.com), is subject to regulatory approval.
“The Thai Government encourages an investment in green chemicals, and particularly bioplastics, which have high growth potential in the Southeast Asian market,” says Thailand's Minister of Energy H.E. Mr. Pichai Naripthaphan. “By attracting what could be the most advanced biopolymer processing plant in the world to Thailand, PTT Chemical has made a significant step in achieving Thailand’s strategic objectives of becoming a regional hub for green technologies and solutions.”
“This is a significant investment by a leading chemical company, which will allow NatureWorks to continue its aggressive growth while expanding its capacity to meet global demand for bio-based products. PTT Chemical’s investment demonstrates a significant milestone in moving Ingeo bio-based plastics and fibers to the polymer mainstream,” says Marc Verbruggen, president and chief executive officer of NatureWorks. “PTT Chemical’s investment supports NatureWorks intent to globalize its Ingeo manufacturing capability by building a new production facility in Thailand, supporting our Asian customer base and delivering on our commitment to renewable feedstock diversification. We anticipate bringing the new plant online in 2015 and expect to announce further details on this expansion later this year.”
“This investment will strengthen PTT Chemical’s green growth strategy towards sustainable development by integrating more renewable and environmentally friendly materials in its portfolio, while offering more green product choices to the customer to fulfill our responsibility as the ‘Power for a Sustainable Future’ for Thailand and all stakeholders,” says Mr. Nuttachat Charuchinda, the chief operating officer, Downstream Petroleum Business Group of PTT Public Company Limited. “PTT Chemical is keen to play a role in pioneering a world-scale bioplastics industry with the aim to become a global leader by 2020 and push Thailand to become an Asian bio-hub.”
“PTT Chemical reinforces NatureWorks’ leadership position and proven track record in bringing cost effective biopolymer innovations to the global marketplace,” says Mr. Veerasak Kositpaisal, president and chief executive officer of PTT Chemical. “NatureWorks is currently the forefront producer of bio-based products with commercially viable production volumes, competitive costing and a global customer base. Our investment in the company and its Ingeo technology platform for plastics and fibers is in line with our long-term strategic green growth and diversification objectives.” “Ingeo offers the performance of conventional plastics and fibers with a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions and lower non-renewable energy requirements. Because it is made from renewable plant material, Ingeo has inherently more stable pricing, contrasting sharply to the massive price swings observed from fossil based polymers,” explains Kositpaisal.
Over the past several years, NatureWorks has seen steady 25 to 30% increases in annual product demand. In the last two years, NatureWorks doubled its Ingeo supply availability by bringing online additional production capacity at its Blair, NE, processing facility.