SHOWA DENKO: Biopolyester Production Ceased Amid Declining Market Prices
It looks as though the expectations Showa Denko (SDK, Tokyo / Japan; www.skd.co.jp) initially had for its polybutylene succinate (PBS) polymers and compounds business ” used for the manufacture of biologically degradable mulch film as well as carrier bags ” have not been met. As a result, the company recently announced that it would cease all production of its Bionolle biopolyester by the end of this year. Sales activities will come to an end by late 2017. The resulting write-offs will impact the companys Q3 2016 results. SDK said all employees affected by the discontinuation would be offered jobs in other company businesses.
The Japanese company blamed the cessation on the massive decline in the price of biologically degradable plastics, as well as the fact that legal ordinances on the use of conventional plastic bags in Europe and China are not being realised fast enough. In future, SDK intends to focus on its Functional Chemicals business, which includes the margin-delivering speciality chemicals used for the manufacture of plastic parts for the automotive, construction and E&E segments. Another future focus will be on composite resins.
SDK first started up a 20,000 t/y PBS base polymer plant in Tatsuno, Hyogo / Japan in 2012 (see Plasteurope.com of 17.07.2012). The site also manufactures Starcla PBS compounds. The Japanese group received the necessary succinic acid feedstock from Myriant Technologies (Quincy, Massachusetts / USA; www.myriant.com), with which it had a supply agreement (see Plasteurope.com of 13.02.2012).