MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kumho Petrochemical has announced a major investment initiative which will see the South Korean group pumping KRW6,000 billion (EUR5.5 billion) into existing and new businesses over the next five years, said European-rubber-journal.
As part of the initiative, Kumho will invest KRW3,300 billion in its ‘core business areas’, which includes nitrile butadiene latex (NB latex) production and styrene solution butadiene rubber (SSBR) manufacturing.
The group aims to expand NB latex production, a key material for rubber gloves, in order to maintain its ‘top global position’, said the Seoul-based supplier in a recent statement.
“As the global hygiene concept is continuously strengthened, latex gloves are expected to become a representative medical and hygiene product along with masks,” Kumho said. The group said the investment will go towards filling a “gap in the technology and production capacity” of the material.
Furthermore, the initiative will involve investments within Kumho’s SSBR operations as it targets No.1 position in Asia. In addition to SSBR capabilities, Kumho said it would also invest in its ‘fine chemical products’ such as synthetic rubber antioxidants and vulcanisation accelerators.
“We are discussing detailed strategies to strengthen global competitiveness, and are devising strategies to maximise profitability,” it added. The Seoul company did not provide further details for the planned investments, but the announcement comes after a series of expansion projects introduced last year.
In June last year, Kumho unveiled an ‘aggressive EUR190-million investment’ in a new nitrile rubber latex plant at its Ulsan petrochemical complex.
Later in the year, the group announced that it is "more than doubling" its SSBR production capacity from 63 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) to 123ktpa by the end of 2022.
The Korean supplier is also considering a KRW2,700 billion investment in “future growth engines” such as carbon nanotubes, for secondary battery materials, and engineering plastics for electric vehicles. It also plans to respond to the rapidly changing industry trends by promoting digitalisation across its operations.