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Business

Corbion Plans To Be Second Polylactic Acid Producer

by Michael McCoy
November 10, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 45

The Dutch biobased chemical firm Corbion Purac intends to become the world’s second large-scale polylactic acid (PLA) producer by building a plant in Thailand. At present, NatureWorks, a joint venture of Cargill and Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical, is the only large-volume producer of PLA, operating a 150,000-metric-ton-per-year facility in Blair, Neb. Corbion will build a 75,000-metric-ton plant in Thailand at a cost of about $75 million, provided, CEO Tjerk de Ruiter says, it can secure customer commitments for at least one-third of the plant’s output. Corbion already produces lactide, the raw material for PLA, in Thailand. The plan represents a change of strategy for Corbion, which to date had positioned itself as a supplier of lactide to other firms. But the company says that worldwide PLA capacity is almost sold out and the market is growing nicely. NatureWorks has plans of its own to build a second PLA plant in Thailand.

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