PetChem, LG Chem to build nitrile butadiene latex plant

PetChem said in a press release that this facility will further help strengthen Malaysia’s position as the largest exporter of rubber gloves globally.

PETALING JAYA: Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PetChem) and LG Chem have inked an agreement to build a nitrile butadiene latex (NBL) manufacturing plant at Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in Johor.

PetChem said in a press release that this facility will further help strengthen Malaysia’s position as the largest exporter of rubber gloves globally.

“Construction of the plant will begin in 2021 while production is scheduled to start in 2023. When completed, the plant will have an annual NBL production capacity of 200,000 tons, ” it said.

PetChem and LG Chem said they will will work together to offer various grades and new applications of NBL as well as develop high value added products through continuous research & development and investments.

“We are excited about this partnership. It marks a strategic step in developing PetChem’s speciality chemicals portfolio, underpinning PetChem’s position as a leading integrated chemicals producer in Malaysia.

“It provides a compelling entry point into the growing NBL based products and enables PetChem to enhance its presence in attractive end-markets, especially for personal care and healthcare, mainly in the Asia Pacific region, ” PetChem managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Sazali Hamzah said in the statement.

“This collaboration further strengthens the pursuit of our growth agenda, having acquired a silicone player last year. With more specialty chemicals in our portfolio, we are moving into segments with higher growth potential, ” Sazali added.

This strategic partnership is timely as it occurs at a period where the demand for nitrile glove is growing rapidly, both companies said in the statement.

They also added that the the collaboration will create new revenue streams and unlock new markets by optimising resources in both companies.

NBL is a synthetic rubber that uses butadiene as the main feedstock and is a core raw material for making nitrile gloves, which is widely used in industries such as healthcare, medical, and food, among others.

It is currently widely used to complement existing natural rubber gloves due to its excellent intensity and chemical-resistance features, it said. Recently, the use of nitrile gloves has seen rapid growth in helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other infections. The rising demand of nitrile gloves is at an annual average of more than 10% and is expected to account for 70% of the entire latex gloves market in 2024, the statement said.

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