media release

Akzo Nobel invests EUR 35 million (SGD 56 million) in Asian Surfactants

Akzo Nobel is investing in a new surfactants facility in Singapore, as well as a capacity increase at a site in Malaysia.

Arnhem, the Netherlands; Singapore, October 12, 2001 – Akzo Nobel’s Business Unit Surface Chemistry is investing in a new facility for the production of surfactants on Jurong Island, Singapore. The plant will support growing demand for Surface Chemistry´s product line of quaternary ammonium compounds and speciality surfactants. This represents an investment of EUR 23 million (SGD 37 million), with start-up scheduled for 2003.

At the same time, Surface Chemistry will invest EUR 6.5 million (SGD 11 million) in a capacity increase for fractionated fatty acids in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, and EUR 5 million (SGD 8 million) in increasing industrial surfactants capacity in LACO – its Japanese joint venture with Lion Corporation.

“Although the present investment climate is depressed we have, after careful evaluation of our priorities, approved this strategically important investment. The Asia-Pacific market is an area of great interest for Akzo Nobel in general, and our surfactants business in particular. We have seen solid growth and increasing customer demand in this segment and based on this, have elected to establish a regional production facility for cationic surfactants in Singapore. The investment is in line with our policy of strengthening our leading positions in specialties,” said Dag Strömqvist, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Akzo Nobel’s Chemicals Group.

Rob Frohn, General Manager of Surface Chemistry, said: “This is the start of a robust expansion plan for Surfactants in Asia, which will ultimately boost our operations there to the same level as in Europe and America. We have existing facilities in Malaysia and Japan, so we are not new to the region. This investment demonstrates our continued serious commitment to serving our customers in Asia.”
“Our fatty acids business in Malaysia – a joint venture with Lam Soon – has a good track record and we will expand capacity to meet growing customer demand. In Japan, surfactants for industrial applications continue to grow and this expansion will help,” he added.

Ray Hurley, Surface Chemistry´s General Manager in Asia, said: “The additional production capacity will allow us to meet the demand from our Asian customers with improved and localized service, thereby capitalizing on the presence of our Asia regional headquarters and regional application labs, which are based in Singapore.”
Jurong facility, which will initially produce quaternary ammonium compounds and specialty surfactants, will employ 25 people when it opens.