SINGAPORE—Due a spike in demand from the worldwide medical community, a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Cariflex PTE Ltd. will double its polyisoprene latex capacity with a $50 million expansion of its Paulinia, Brazil, facility.
The Cariflex Board of Directors approved the expansion in April, and the plant is expected to begin production in the first quarter of 2021.
"Cariflex is excited to be making a sizeable investment in the growth of the polyisoprene latex business," said Philippe Henderson, Cariflex sales and marketing leader.
Used in dipped goods and specialty products like surgical gloves, rubber stoppers and seals for drug delivery devices, polyisoprene latex is a synthetic alternative to natural rubber latex.
"With the current strong demand for medical protective equipment such as surgical gloves, we recognize our customers' needs to have more material available," Henderson said.
The increased capacity at the Cariflex plant in Brazil—combined with the capacity already online at a Cariflex plant in Himeji, Japan—will serve a global customer base, the company said.
The new production line in Brazil will use current production systems already there.
To lead the expansion and Cariflex PTE Ltd., parent company, Daelim Industrial Co. Ltd. named Prakash Kolluri as chief executive officer.
"Our strategic decision for the capacity expansion will accelerate organic growth to a rate faster than competitors and deliver on commitments," Kolluri said.
Sean Kim, CEO of Daelim Industrial, said he is happy to have Kolluri in the leadership post.
"We are confident Prakash will move Cariflex PTE Ltd. forward and bring a wealth of experience, which will be extremely valuable in driving our future growth globally," Kim said.
Cariflex manufactures isoprene rubber and isoprene rubber latex for medical end markets and other high-value markets.
Daelim Industrial Co. is part of the Daelim Group, mainly in the petrochemical and engineering and construction businesses. Daelim saw $8.5 billion in sales in 2019.