Kobe expands recycling business

Japan’s Kobe Steel has expanded its scrap and recycling business from metals to plastics by signing an agreement in early June with Belgium chemical producer Solvay for promoting the latter’s PVC recycling know-how in Japan. Through the agreement, Kobe has become the exclusive agent in Japan for selling PVC recycling plants and technology on behalf of Solvay. Kobe has bought the right to build plants in Japan based on Solvay’s proprietary PVC recycling technology, Vinyloop. Under the deal, the two companies also plan to expand their presence in the recycling markets of China and other Asian countries. However, the companies have not formally agreed that Kobe would have the exclusive right to promote Solvay’s technology in other parts of Asia.
“This time, we agreed only on Japan,” a Kobe official said. Kobe and Solvay are currently looking for other partners to set up a joint venture to build two PVC recycling plants in Japan, one in the eastern part of the country and the other in the west. Each plant would have a capacity of 200,000 mt/yr. The two sides hope to break ground on the new units by June 2003.

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