* Buys 50 pct stake in NatureWorks
* To start booking investment gain from 2012
* NatureWorks eyes 2nd bio plastic plant in Thailand - CEO
(Adds executive quotes, details)
By Pisit Changplayngam and Ploy Ten Kate
BANGKOK, Oct 12 Thailand's largest olefins
maker, PTT Chemical Pcl (PTTCH) , said on Wednesday it
would buy a 50 percent stake in NatureWorks LLC, the world's
largest polylactic acid (PLA) manufacturer, in a deal worth $150
PTT Chemical's investment in NatureWorks, until now wholly
owned by U.S.-based agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. ,
is subject to regulatory approval.
PTTGC International (USA) Inc., 100 percent owned by PTT
Chemical International Private Ltd, itself a wholly owned
subsidiary of PTTCH, will take the stake.
Cargill Inc. will retain the remaining 50 percent. According
to NatureWorks' website, Cargill was advised on this transaction
by J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.
Veerasak Kositpaisal, president and chief executive of PTT
Chemical, expected to start booking gains from the investments
in NatureWorks from 2012.
"The purchase would give us an opportunity to focus more on
producing bio-based products," Veerasak said, citing Thailand as
a strategic location for bioplastic manufacturing due to its
plentiful sugarcane and cassava supplies.
NatureWorks supplies a broad family of renewable Ingeo
biopolymers made from plants to plastics and fibre markets
Marc Verbruggen, president and chief executive officer of
NatureWorks, said the company and PTTCH were studying a plan to
build a second production plant worth about $200 million in
Thailand, expecting the new plant to come online in 2015.
"PTT Chemical's investment supports NatureWorks intent to
globalise its Ingeo manufacturing capability by building a new
production facility in Thailand, supporting our Asian customer
base and delivering on our commitment to renewable feedstock
diversification," Verbruggen said.
Further details were expected to be announced later this
year, its website said.
Nebraska-based NatureWorks has estimated annual capacity of
140,000 tonnes. In recent years it has seen steady 25-30 percent
increases in annual product demand.
PTT Chemical is keen to play a role in pioneering a
world-scale bioplastics industry with the aim of becoming a
global leader by 2020 and helping Thailand become an Asian
PTT Chemical shares, valued at $5.2 billion, were suspended
from trading on Oct. 11, pending a merger with PTT Aromatics and
Refining . Shares in the merged firm will start
trading on Oct. 21.
($1 = 30.955 Baht)
(Editing by Alan Raybould)