With dispatch of its first shipments to India and China, Oman based Octal Petrochemicals has forayed into the Asian market; targeting the quantum growth in plastic packaging demand in Asia. Octal opened a sales office in Shanghai in July and claims to be the first company exporting APET sheet to India and China. With this, Octal moves closer in achieving its objective to become the world's largest producer of APET sheets. Based on current growth trends, Octal expects to achieve combined sales of $10 mln from both markets over the next year, and three times that figure the following year. Octal Petrochemicals expects total sales of its APET (amorphous polyethylene terephthalate) sheet packaging to reach US$500 mln pa by the end of 2008, around 20% of the world market for APET. Global sales exceeded 2,000 metric tons in November, worth more than $3 mln.
Octal Petrochemicals plans to invest US$300 mln in an integrated PET resin and APET sheet manufacturing plant based in Salalah Free Zone in September. Octal is the first company to build a plant in the free zone and production started in late 2006.
Octal recently conducted a feasibility study in India to evaluate the opportunities for APET sheet growth, in which it concluded that Indian demand is still small with total market of thermoformed plastics for consumer products pegged less than 75,000 metric tpa. But India has the potential to be as large as the US, and Octal is positioned at the foot of this exciting growth curve.
Octal's APET sheet is in trials with a major grape exporter in India while a multinational cosmetics firm that exports around the world is one of the 35 companies testing the product in China.