Shanghai, China – Rigid polyol maker Hongbaoli plans to expand its polyol capacity after its 120kT/year propylene oxide (PO) plant starts operation, expected in later 2017 or early 2018, the company told UTECH-polyurethane.com.
Hongbaoli is seeking new growth points from overseas markets, with South America showing the fastest year-on-year growth rate in 2015 at 50%. “We provide high-end products and sell at prices only slightly lower than international companies,” said James Wu, general manager of the group’s PU sales arm.
The company also makes isopropanolamine (a flex foam triol) , which uses PO as feedstock. “When the plant is completed our business focus might move upstream,” said Xing Yihui, vice president of Hongbaoli’s research institute.
A large number of China’s PO makers are located in Shandong province where less stringent regulation allows the chlorohydrins process, according to Xing. “They may keep running over the next three years but will be under serious [environmental regulatory] pressure within a decade,” he added.
Hongbaoli is concerned about competition from Dow’s PO projects in Saudi Arabia and Thailand. Hongbaoli claims 180kT/year capacity comprising 150 kT/year commodity and 30kT/year speciality polyols.
Exchange Rates: Xe.com 7 August 2016.