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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        25  January 2011

PTTCH has joint venture with US partner

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PTT Chemical Plc (PTTCH), Thailand's largest petrochemical producer, made a strategic equity investment of US$60 million in Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm Myriant Technologies and vowed to continue their partnership with other potential bioplastic ventures.

PTTCH president and chief executive Veerasak Kositpaisal cited the investment as the firm's first step to participate in bio-based chemicals, including having Thailand's first commercial bioplastic plant operating over the next five years.

"The most important consideration for this collaboration is for PTTCH to have our own biotechnology to ensure our ability to meet the continuously increasing demand for environmentally friendly products," said Mr Veerasak.

The amount of Myriant shares PTTCH acquired was not revealed, but it is a significant capital increase for the US company. Myriant, which focuses on developing technologies and manufacturing specialty chemicals from renewable feedstocks, is building the world's largest bio-based succinic acid plant in Louisiana, scheduled to open in 2012.

The project, with an annual capacity of 14,000 tonnes, has been awarded $60-million in funding from the US's Department of Energy and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for construction, said Myriant chairman and CEO Stephen Gatto.

He added PTTCH's experience in downstream chemicals could enhance Myriant to capitalise on promising growth in the Asian market. Myriant plans to have bio-based chemical manufacturing plants all over the world.

Succinic acid is used in manufacturing a variety of polymers, pigments, solvents, cleaners and pharmaceuticals for applications such as paints, latex and polyurethane.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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