Dow Chemical reaffirms Thailand investment plans

The chief executive officer of the world’s second-largest chemical producer, Dow Chemical of the United States, confirmed that his company will invest over $70 million in a new polyurethane plant in the Eastern Economic Corridor in partnership with SCG of Thailand, making the announcement after meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak in Bangkok last week.

The Thai government expressed appreciation for the vote of confidence from Dow CEO Jim Fitterling in the Kingdom’seconomy and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), its showcase advanced development zone. The EEC is home to 10 industries the government is promoting and supporting as part of Thailand 4.0, the 20-year national strategy to elevate Thailand’s economy to one based on innovation, research and development, creative and higher-technologies.

Thailand is now Dow’s hub in Asia. It produces more of it chemical products in Thailand than any other country in the region and uses the Kingdom as a base to export to other Asian nations. The company relies on Thailand’s natural gas as a key raw material for many of its operations, Somkid said. Petrochemicals are one of the 10 supported industries crucial to Thailand 4.0.

Dow owns or operates 14 manufacturing facilities in the Kingdom, including operations at Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, Asia Industrial Estate and Hemaraj Eastern Industrial Estate. In 2012, Dow Chemical built a propylene glycol plant and polyolefin plant for encapsulant films used in solar panels at an investment cost of $3 billion.

Fitterling said that emerging economies in Asia like India and ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members are investing heavily in infrastructure, pushing up demand for chemical products.

Dow’s ethylene and polyethylene plants are currently operating at over 90 percent capacity, he added. This means demand for chemical products is exceeding supply, pushing prices higher.

Fitterling is no stranger to Thailand. He has spent his entire career with Dow, having joined the firm in 1984, and more than a decade later he led Dow’s operations in Thailand and the SCG-Dow Group of joint venture companies. He was appointed CEO of Dow Chemical in March of this year. Fitterling is a pioneer in the business world.

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