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LG-DOW Polycarbonate Plant Starts Production in Korea to Effectively Meet Regional Needs


LG DOW Polycarbonate Ltd. (LG-DOW) today announced the successful start up of its polycarbonate plant in Yosu, Korea, at a dedication ceremony. A 50/50 joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) and LG Chem Investment Ltd. (LGCI), the new facility represents one of the largest petrochemical investments in Korea. The LG-DOW polycarbonate plant will first come on stream with 65,000 metric tons of capacity and is expected to ramp up quickly to an annual capacity of 130,000 metric tons.

The dedication ceremony was officiated by Seung Yong Joo, mayor of Yosu City. More than 200 guests attended the ceremony, including both customers and representatives from LG, Dow and LG-DOW.

According to H.S. Han, president of LG DOW Polycarbonate Ltd., the Yosu facility is a model of superb plant construction that achieved completion ahead of schedule with excellent safety and quality performance, bringing significant benefits to customers in the region.

"Industry predictions show that demand for high quality polycarbonate resins is likely to increase by as much as 10 percent per year across the Pacific. LG-DOW was created in early 1999 to address the demands of this burgeoning market with advanced technology on a world-class scale," said Han. "The new Yosu plant will effectively increase local supply of top quality polycarbonate and put us in a strong competitive position to serve the fast-growing Asia Pacific region."

K.S. Kim, executive vice president of LG DOW Polycarbonate Ltd., cites Korea as a prime example of how the new facility will help to ease the region's current demand for polycarbonate.

"Today, Korea depends on imports to meet 70 percent of its demand for polycarbonate resins, which amounts to US$120 million," explained Kim. "LG-DOW expects to produce approximately US$350 million worth of polycarbonate annually, which will allow us to fully meet Korea's local demand."

Sung Jae Kap, vice chairman of LGCI, is confident that the joint venture company will become a polycarbonate market leader in the Pacific. "The joint venture affords existing and potential customers unprecedented advantages: the strength of a global plastics leader with the flexibility of a strong regional partner that understands and supports the needs of local customers."

Effective July 1, 2001, LG DOW Polycarbonate Ltd. took over Dow's polycarbonate market franchise in the Pacific, with the exception of Japan. As part of the transaction, Dow's polycarbonate team in the region, including sales, marketing, technical and customer service employees, are now aligned to LG-DOW, and will support Dow's existing customers through the joint venture business.

According to Jeff Gardner, vice president, Dow Engineering Plastics, the new facility in Korea enables Dow to render services to customers in the emerging Asian market more efficiently and cost-effectively.

"This investment is part of our geographic expansion to capture the growth opportunities in the region and to meet customer demands. We are committed to strengthening our international reach and our global leadership in polycarbonate. Through LG-DOW, customers in the region will be able to take advantage of Dow's superior expertise and technology to help them succeed in this competitive marketplace," said Gardner.

Polycarbonate resins are top engineering resins offering an exceptional combination of clarity along with heat and impact resistance. Precise control of molecular architecture, a result of Dow's proprietary production process, gives the polycarbonate resins very high ductility and toughness over a wide temperature range. Polycarbonate resins are used to manufacture a variety of products, including compact discs, mobile phones, notebook computers, computer monitor housings, water bottles, vehicle headlights and construction materials.

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