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Web Date: October 4, 2007

Teijin Buys Into NatureWorks

Japanese firm joins Cargill in polylactic acid business
Department: Business | Collection: Sustainability

Japan's Teijin has agreed to buy a 50% stake in NatureWorks, a Cargill subsidiary that produces plastics from corn sugar. Terms were not disclosed.

NatureWorks operates a polylactic acid plant in Blair, Neb., with an annual capacity of 140,000 metric tons. The company was formed in 1997 as a 50-50 joint venture with Dow Chemical. The partners completed the Blair plant in 2002 at a cost of about $300 million. Three years later, Dow sold its share in the venture to Cargill at a loss, saying that environmentally friendly polymers do not appeal to consumers if they are more expensive than conventional ones.

Teijin, one of Japan's largest producers of fibers and polymers, says it is investing in NatureWorks because it is committed to developing environmentally friendly chemical technologies. Last month, Total Petrochemical and Galactic announced that they would build a plant in Belgium for polylactic acid-based plastics (C&EN, Oct. 1, page 21).

 
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