PTT Global Chemical Plc (PTTGC), Thailand’s largest petrochemical producer by capacity, expects sales of its products to rise by 10% in 2024, up from a projected 17 million tonnes this year, attributed to higher demand in some overseas markets.
Prospects for the petrochemical industry should improve slightly next year, thanks to rising demand from China and India and despite an economic slowdown in the US and Europe, said Kongkrapan Intarajang, chief executive and president of PTTGC.
The company also has no plan to shut down factories for major maintenance next year, which will ensure continuity of production.
Mr Kongkrapan believes both commodity-grade polymers and specialty polymers will record higher sales next year.
Under its business plan for the next five years, PTTGC aims to focus more on cost control and enhancing production efficiency in order to reduce total expenses by up to 12 billion baht.
So far, the cost and production efficiency measures have already helped the company cut expenses by 8 billion baht.
PTTGC plans to allocate 20 billion baht to support business expansion next year: 15 billion for projects to increase production capacity and the rest for efficiency enhancement.
The company is currently building a factory to produce polylactic acid (PLA) from sugar and expects to start commercial operations in the first half of 2025, said Mr Kongkrapan.
PLA is a compostable biopolymer that can be used in a variety of applications ranging from coffee capsules and food packaging to 3D printing filaments, hygienic masks and home appliances.
PTTGC and US-based Cargill Inc agreed in 2021 to jointly develop a PLA production facility worth US$600 million in Nakhon Sawan province. It will be run by the 50:50 joint venture NatureWorks LLC.
Located in the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex, the factory is Cargill’s second biopolymer production facility, following an initial plant in Blair, Nebraska.
Annual biopolymer production capacity at the new factory is 75,000 tonnes a year.
PTTGC last week reported a third-quarter net profit of 1.42 billion baht, compared with a loss of 13.4 billion in the same period a year ago. The company said it continued to incur a share of losses from investments, mainly driven by weak performance in a sluggish global economy, which resulted in softening product spreads in the petrochemical sector.