MUNICH, Germany/SEOUL, South Korea - Wacker Chemie AG officially launched its new production plant for vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer (VAE) dispersions at its Ulsan site in South Korea. The additional 40,000 metric tons from the second reactor line increases the site’s VAE-dispersion capacity to a total of 90,000 tons per year. The production capacity of the site has almost doubled, making the plant complex one of the biggest of its kind in South Korea. The expansion is WACKER’s response to the rising demand for VAE dispersions, especially in Southeast Asia’s emerging markets. The company invested around EUR 10 million in the expansion project.

President and CEO Rudolf Staudigl emphasized the strategic importance of the new reactor line for Asian markets, “The expansion of our plant here in Ulsan is a key step in our global growth strategy,” he said. “The demand for top-quality VAE dispersions is continuously rising in Southeast Asia, especially for those used in formulating low-emission, eco-friendly products. The additional capacity will enable us to continue reliably meeting our customers’ high demand over the coming years, thus securing our leading global position in VAE dispersions.”

Under its VINNAPAS® trademark, WACKER already produces vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer dispersions at Ulsan for use as binders in the adhesives industry. The second reactor line’s additional capacity is particularly aimed at reliably meeting the strong growth in the coatings sector, as well as in construction, paper, carpet and nonwovens applications. WACKER already started expanding the VAE capacity of its Nanjing site in China by 60,000 tons per year in spring 2012. This is set for completion by mid-2013. With the expansions in both South Korea and China, the company is doubling its VAE capacity in the region.