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SDK to Expand Acetic Acid/Vinyl Acetate Production Capacity

November 16, 2005

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) will expand its production capacity of acetic acid and vinyl acetate during the maintenance shutdown of the Oita Petrochemical Complex scheduled for early next year. The annual production capacity of acetic acid will be increased from 100,000 tons to 130,000 tons, and that of vinyl acetate from 120,000 tons to 175,000 tons, respectively. Through these expansions, SDK intends to establish its competitive advantages in the acetyl chain business (acetic acid, vinyl acetate, ethyl acetate, etc.) in the Southeast Asian markets.

SDK is producing acetic acid in Oita based on its proprietary direct-ethylene-oxidation process. The 30% acetic acid capacity expansion will be achieved by the use of improved catalysts with higher activity and optimization of operating conditions that lengthens the catalyst life. Demand for acetic acid is growing at a yearly rate of about 5% for such applications as vinyl acetate, high-purity terephthalic acid and acetate. In particular, acetic acid exports to Southeast Asian countries are growing at a yearly rate of 10%.

Meanwhile, the 46% increase in the vinyl acetate capacity will result from debottlenecking of the production process and improvement in catalysts. Demand for vinyl acetate will grow further, centering on the production of polyvinyl alcohol for use in vinylon and polarizing film.

In the petrochemicals segment, SDK has focused on olefins and acetyl chain operations. SDK’s acetyl chain business is characterized by compact processes and low levels of by-products, resulting in competitive advantages in terms of initial investment and running costs. SDK will continue to expand its petrochemicals business through synergies of its three production sites, namely, Oita, Tokuyama and Indonesia (PT. Showa Esterindo Indonesia).


SDK Group’s Acetyl Production (tons/year)

Product Site Current
Oita 100,000 130,000 30,000 (30%)  
Oita 120,000 175,000 55,000 (46%)  
Oita 100,000     Japan Ethyl Acetate Co., Ltd.
Tokuyama 150,000      
Indonesia 50,000     PT.Showa Esterindo Indonesia
Sub-total 300,000