Victrex Forms China Polymer JV

16.01.2020 -

UK high-performance polymer producer Victrex has formed a joint venture with China’s Yingkou Xingfu Chemical to build and operate a new plant for polyether ether ketone (PEEK). Victrex explained that the companies were already known to one another through their monomer supply chain.

Subsidiary Victrex Hong Kong will be the majority partner and leader of the jv with a 75% share. The Lancashire-based company will invest a total of £32 million in the venture – around £28 million as capital expenditure and £4 million on start-up costs.

The plant in Liaoning will eventually be capable of producing up to 1,500 t/y and start-up is scheduled for early 2022. The project remains subject to certain conditions, including finalizing the purchase of land and permit applications.

“This investment is in line with our record of not only investing ahead of demand, but in complementing and further differentiating our range of PEEK and [polyaryl ether ketone] PAEK grades, as well as setting the stage for specific geographic growth, whereby we can capitalize on the significant opportunities in China and the Asia Pacific region by having a competitive manufacturing presence there,” said Jakob Sigurdsson, CEO of Victrex.

The company added that it is anticipating a “range of significant long-term growth opportunities across several end markets in China” as well as aligning with the country’s ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative, where it expects that specifying domestically produced PEEK in certain applications will gain momentum.

Launched in 2015, the Chinese government’s ‘Made in China 2025’ policy aims to update its manufacturing base by rapidly developing high-tech industries and reducing the country’s dependence on foreign technology

As part of the deal, Victrex will hold three of the four seats on the jv’s board, with its chief financial officer Richard Armitage acting as chairman.

Victrex is also commencing a debottlenecking project at its Hillhouse, UK, facilities during the 2020 financial year, adding up to 1,000 t/y when completed.