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MRC and SABIC Join Hands to Build MMA and PMMA Plants in Saudi Arabia

Published on 2011-06-01. Author : SpecialChem

Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd. (MRC) and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) have announced the formation of a joint venture company, to build and operate two plants - one for Methyl Methacrylate (MMA), and the other for Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) - at one of SABIC's manufacturing affiliates in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

The next phase of this project will focus on the basic engineering design, completion of: supply agreements, regulatory approvals and necessary details for the JV incorporation, implementation and execution activities.

The MMA plant will be the largest ever built, with a 250,000 metric ton annual capacity. It will use Lucite International's (LI) Alpha technology, which was first commercialised with its Alpha 1 plant which began operation in Singapore in November 2008. LI is a subsidiary of MRC acquired in 2009. The PMMA plant will be based on MRC technology and will have an annual capacity of 40,000 metric tons.

MRC and SABIC have entered into this new partnership to further their strategic goals. MRC, the global leader in the methacrylates industry, will strengthen its leadership position by utilizing readily available raw materials in Saudi Arabia and building up a new production facility in the Middle East region. SABIC will broaden its specialty portfolio by drawing on the technological expertise of MRC.

Commenting on the partnership deal, Masanao Kambara, MRC President, said "This partnership with SABIC will help us to meet long term supply commitments to our MMA and PMMA customers. As the global leader we have a responsibility to ensure reliability of supply and this investment will enable us to deliver continuous improvement."

Koos Van Haasteren, SABIC Executive Vice President, Performance Chemicals, commented the joint venture operation would be the basis for a strategic entry into the acrylics business. "We will be building on a breakthrough technology, with a strong partnership and integrated feedstock," he said. "Moreover, the global market for MMA is growing at a rapid pace. New applications are driving this increase in demand and we are committed to meeting our customer growth requirements worldwide".

The MMA/PMMA joint venture is aligned with Saudi Arabia's National Industrial Clusters Development Program, which seeks to expand and diversify its manufacturing sector and create opportunities in downstream industries such as construction, automotive, electronics, medical technologies and appliances. It can therefore be concluded that this project will have a positive impact on value creation in Saudi Arabia, enabling industry to move further downstream.

About MRC/Lucite

The Mitsubishi Rayon Group started life in 1933 as Japan's first manufacturer of rayon staple fibers. It was during the 1940's that the methyl methacrylate (MMA) business was launched.

The Mitsubishi Rayon Group is the world's largest methyl methacrylate (MMA) producer and the only one employing all three major manufacturing methods. With products ranging from monomers to polymers, the Group takes a comprehensive approach to business on a global scale. Currently, the Group is accelerating operations in acrylonitrile (AN)-used in acrylic fiber and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin-and AN derivatives.

About Alpha Technology

A radically new and innovative technology introduced to the market by Lucite in 2008.The elegant and efficient new process utilises methanol, ethylene, and carbon monoxide as raw materials.

About SABIC

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world's market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers. SABIC recorded a net profit of SR 21 billion (US$ 5.6 billion) in 2010. Sales revenues for 2010 totaled SR 152 billion (US$ 40.5 billion). Total assets stood at SR 317 billion (US$ 84.5 billion) at the end of 2010.

SABIC's businesses are grouped into Chemicals, Polymers, Performance Chemicals, Fertilizers, Metals and Innovative Plastics. SABIC has significant research resources with 18 dedicated Technology & Innovation facilities in Saudi Arabia, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, India and China. The company operates in more than 40 countries across the world with 33,000 employees worldwide. SABIC manufactures on a global scale in Saudi Arabia, the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. SABIC's overall production has increased from 35 million metric tons in 2001 to 66 million metric tons in 2010.

Headquartered in Riyadh, SABIC was founded in 1976 when the Saudi Arabian Government decided to use the hydrocarbon gases associated with its oil production as the principal feedstock for production of chemicals, polymers and fertilizers. The Saudi Arabian Government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares with the remaining 30 percent held by private investors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Source: Mitsubishi Rayon Co.


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