Ticona to strengthen presence in Asia

April 17, 2008 - Germany

Ticona, the engineering polymers business of Celanese Corporation, is pinning high hopes on growth in Asia. The company is planning a series of new investments to further strengthen its existing presence in the region over the next few years. In so doing, it intends to enhance its position as a global supplier of high-performance plastics and at the same time benefit from the strong economic growth in Asian countries.

“The Asian market is recording double-digit growth rates at present,” explained Lyndon Cole, president of Ticona, at the end of June in Frankfurt. “Our strategy is to take control of our destiny in the region and to capture a leading share of this growth directly with an enhanced local product and service offering to support our customer’s globalization efforts and development requirements. Over the next few years, we will add local production facilities for our core products and commercial, technical and application development resources.”

Commitment to long-term involvement in China
The main pillar of Ticona’s Asian growth strategy will be China. Back in mid-May, Ticona celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for two new production plants in Nanjing – one for GUR UHMWPE and the other for Celstran LFT. Both plants are scheduled to come on stream in 2008. As a result, the company’s global capacity for GUR will increase to over 90,000 tonnes per year and capacity for Celstran to more than 35,000 tonnes. In February this year Ticona also announced that plans are being developed for quickly installing local compounding, and Vectra LCP and Hostaform POM production in the region within the next three to five years.

Expansion in the service of customers - At the Chinaplas international plastics trade fair in May 2007, Ticona announced that it was to build a customer application development center in Shanghai, also scheduled for 2008. This will become part of a global support network, which includes similar Ticona centers in Kelsterbach, Germany and Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA.

Ticona’s strengthened presence in Asia will help win new customers and open new markets. At the same time, existing customers who expand to Asia will be able to continue relying on Ticona for high-quality products and know-how provided on a local basis.

They will also benefit from shorter lead times, greater flexibility and cost advantages. “We want to ensure that we can offer our customers in Asia the comprehensive support we already provide in Europe and North and South America,” said Lyndon Cole at the announcement of plans for the development center in Shanghai.

Growth in Asia - Experts predict that per capita consumption of plastics in Asia will increase to about 24 kilograms by 2010 (2005: 15 kilograms). Although commodity plastics will account for the largest proportion of this, producers of high-quality specialty plastics will also find that involvement in the Asian region pays dividends. Growth in areas such as automotive engineering and drive technology, the packaging industry and a whole host of other consumer and industrial applications is driving demand for engineering polymers in Asia.

Ticona recognized this trend at an early stage and has more than 40 years’ experience in the Far East through more regional affiliate joint ventures. Now, in a globalizing world, Ticona will adapt its approach in the region by strengthening its global capability to serve customers.