By Liz White, UT staffLudwigshafen, Germany-BASF is setting up a polyurethanes systems house in Thailand-its 29th systems house globally-at an existing BASF site in Bangpoo. The latest unit-part of the German group’s growth plans in polyurethane specialties-will start offering tailor-made PU systems from the first quarter of 2006. It will work “in close cooperation with customers from a wide range of industries such as the footwear, appliances, automotive and construction sectors,” said a BASF statement. BASF is currently awaiting approval from the Thai authorities. No financial details were disclosed.”Our new system house in Thailand is a further building block to strengthen our leading position in polyurethanes in the Asian growth market,” said Jean-Pierre Dhanis, president of BASF’s Polyurethanes division, in the statement. “Thailand is an important market for BASF … We will use our extensive expertise to achieve a strong competitive position,” added Chew Eng Soo, group vice president, Polyurethanes Asia Pacific at BASF. Thailand already accounts for 40 percent of the PU market in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Thai market is expected to grow at about 6 percent annually over the next decade. As a result, “Thailand is a driver of growth in the region’s polyurethanes business,” BASF said.The supplier claims customers will benefit from BASF’s polyurethane strength in Asia, which include: * Caojing, Shanghai-BASF and partners will start up plants for MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) and TDI (toluene diisocyanate) in 2006. ° Pudong, Shanghai-BASF is establishing a regional centre for polyurethane specialties. With a systems house, a plant for thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) and a Technical Research & Development Center. The new system house in Thailand will draw on the resources of this centre, BASF pointed out. BASF’s existing Asian systems houses are in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and China. In addition to its capital expenditure project in Pudong, Shanghai, BASF acquired the system houses Foam Enterprises in the United States and Lagomat in Sweden in 2004.BASF has been in Thailand since 1966, and currently has more than 200 employees, at two sites, Bangpoo and Rayong. In 2004, the company posted sales of €157 million ($200 million) in Thailand. “
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