PET gains mo­men­tum

Ex­tra ca­pac­ity by 2008

Finweek English Edition - - Kap international -

THE DAYS OF GLASS-BOT­TLED cool drinks seem to be go­ing the way of the dodo, as the use of Poly­eth­yl­ene Tereph­tha­late (PET) gains mo­men­tum world­wide. In­deed, PET, which is used to make clear – rather than opaque – plas­tic con­tain­ers, has be­come the pack­ag­ing of choice for soft drinks and min­eral wa­ter around the world, and this trend shows no signs of slow­ing.

KAP In­ter­na­tional sub­sidiary Hosaf Fi­bres, one of only two pro­duc­ers of PET in SA, is gear­ing it­self up to take ad­van­tage of this grow­ing de­mand in the com­ing years. Ac­cord­ing to MD Peter White, global PET growth is ex­pected to con­tinue at a rate of 7% a year as the pack­ag­ing in­dus­try recog­nises the in­her­ent ben­e­fits of PET on the ba­sis of cost, dura­bil­ity and clar­ity, cou­pled with its re­cy­cling po­ten­tial.

The vast ma­jor­ity (about 90%) of Hosaf’s PET bot­tle resin is sold in the form of pel­lets pro­duced in the com­pany’s state-of-the-art plant in Dur­ban, to lead­ing con­vert­ers such as Xac Pet (a ma­jor sup­plier to ABI, bot­tler of Co­caCola), Box­more and the As­tra­pak group. The bal­ance of the 60 000t of PET pro­duc­tion is ex­ported over­seas, a fig­ure that White sug­gests is un­likely to rise, due to strong lo­cal de­mand for prod­uct.

The com­pany also pro­duces polyester sta­ple fi­bre at its Dur­ban site (11000t a year) used in the tra­di­tional tex­tile spin­ning sec­tor, as well as spe­cial­ity and in­dus­trial fi­bres for du­vets, pil­lows and in­su­la­tion at its Cape Town plant.

White says that while the tra­di­tional tex­tile side of the busi­ness has been ad­versely af­fected by im­ports of Chi­nese tex­tiles and cloth­ing, the com­pany’s 50% lo­cal mar­ket share in PET and the move into spe­cial­ity and in­dus­trial fi­bres have served to ef­fec­tively in­su­late it from the de­cline in the pri­mary tex­tile sec­tor.

In 2006 Hosaf sold a to­tal of 80 900t of bot­tle resin and fi­bres, a 10,2% in­crease on 2005 lev­els. PET sales were 7500t higher.

“We’ve also in­vested sub­stan­tially in in­creas­ing our to­tal poly­mer ca­pac­ity, which has now reached 86 000t,” adds White. “The Dur­ban plant ben­e­fits from hav­ing the only con­tin­u­ous poly­meri­sa­tion plant in sub­Sa­ha­ran Africa, which is more cost-ef­fec­tive and con­sis­tent than the batch process used by other lo­cal pro­duc­ers. Both plants are ISO 9001 ac­cred­ited and PET is ap­proved for use by both Coca-Cola and Pepsi.”

To take ad­van­tage of the good re­cy­clable qual­i­ties of PET – mak­ing the plas­tic more ap­peal­ing for to­day’s en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive con­sumers – the com­pany has built a re­cy­cling plant un­der the aus­pices of Hosaf Re­cy­cling. The plant has the ca­pac­ity to re­cy­cle 6 000t of PET bot­tles a year, equat­ing to ap­prox­i­mately 6% of SA’s con­sump­tion, and aims to in­crease its re­cy­cling ca­pac­ity. Hosaf is also a mem­ber of Petco, an in­dus­try ini­tia­tive aimed at pro­mot­ing the col­lec­tion and re­cy­cling of PET bot­tles.

“The ma­jor chal­lenge fac­ing the recy-

PET growth is ex­pected to con­tinue at a rate of 7% a year as the pack­ag­ing in­dus­try recog­nises

the in­her­ent ben­e­fits.

cling plant is the qual­ity of the post-con­sumer bot­tles,” White elab­o­rates. “The vast ma­jor­ity of th­ese used bot­tles are scav­enged off land­fills, which re­sults in low col­lec­tion yields and a high level of con­tam­i­na­tion.”

Hosaf is cur­rently op­er­at­ing all of its as­sets at full ca­pac­ity and with the an­tic­i­pated growth in PET de­mand set to con­tinue, White says the com­pany is ac­tively look­ing at dif­fer­ent ways to fur­ther “de-bot­tle­neck” its plant.

“We’re look­ing at a variety of op­tions that would sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease our ca­pac­ity, but also with a mind to main­tain­ing a com­pet­i­tive cost of in­vest­ment,” says White.

“We’re aiming to bring that ex­tra ca­pac­ity on stream by the end of 2008. Go­ing for­ward, there’s no rea­son to be­lieve we won’t be run­ning at full steam over the next few years.”

Move to spe­cial­ity fi­bres an ef­fec­tive in­su­la­tor against de­cline in pri­mary tex­tile sec­tor. Peter White

PET GLOBAL DE­MAND (KTA)

Source: In­vista

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