"Despite being the largest PET producer globally, Indorama Ventures only captures about 1% of a very fragmented market, which is worth about US$2 trillion. There is plenty of room for growth."
Indorama Ventures is the largest PET producer in the world, with a 2022 revenue of US$18.7 billion and a presence in 35 countries. What has been a key driver behind the company’s growth?
Based on the principle that it is not the strongest of the species that will survive, but the most agile, success to me is not about having the largest market cap, but the most agile operation. Change is the only constant, and therefore we must continuously evolve to grow. In 1995, Indorama Ventures was one of the first companies in Southeast Asia to focus on making PET at regional and global scale. With PET, we had the chance to make a simple product, at low cost, and be close to our customers. From the start we wanted to control our supply chain, and Asia provided us with the raw materials, the customers, and the demand. Our base in Thailand is a relatively small market, but Asia presented us with larger opportunities to expand quickly. Our strategy was to produce PET locally in key markets, from where we could serve customers across the region with a focus on reliability and speed.
Over some 30 years, we have leveraged our regional and global PET platform to expand into related businesses including polyester fibers and chemical derivatives. Today, we employ more than 26,000 people at 147 manufacturing sites, split between Asia-Pacific, EMEA, and the Americas. As a global leader, our integrated model and geographical footprint provided us with a resilient growth platform that is performing well in some of the most difficult macroeconomic circumstances in our history, such as the global pandemic and the more recent disruptions in Europe. In 2022, we reported record revenue of US$18.7 billion, a 28% year-on-year increase, with Core EBITDA growth of 31% YoY.
What opportunities for further growth do you identify in the PET market?
Despite being the largest PET producer globally, Indorama Ventures only captures about 1% of a very fragmented market, which is worth about US$2 trillion. There is plenty of room for growth, with cost as the main factor. Indorama Ventures, together with our partners, is investing US$2.4 billion in a new PTA-PET facility in Texas, which will bring another 1.1 million t/y of PET and 1.3 million t/y of PTA to the North American market in 2025. The Corpus Christi Polymers plant, as it is known, will be the largest vertically integrated PTA-PET pant in the Americas, a market that grows at 5-6% annually.
Indorama Ventures has built a growing surfactants platform through its IOD (Integrated Oxides & Derivatives) business segment. Can you outline your growth strategy?
To produce PET, we also produce ethylene glycol (EG) and ethylene oxide (EO) as part of our backward-integrated model. EO is used as a raw material for both EG and surfactants, which became the basis for a new growth business called Integrated Oxides & Derivatives (IOD). Through the purchase of Hunstman’s EO and propylene oxide (PO) assets in the US in 2020, and the more recent acquisition of Brazil-based Oxiteno in 2022, Indorama Ventures is a leading player in these high-value markets in the Americas, with significant potential to grow in Asia and Europe.
Indorama Ventures has built its global footprint mostly through acquisitions. We could not have grown as quickly by building our own plants. Also, adding new plants would risk oversupplying the market.
What is Indorama Ventures’ role in supporting the circular economy?
Indorama Ventures has 20 recycling plants, and we have two more in the pipeline in Indonesia and India. Since 2011, we have recycled more than 90 billion PET bottles, with a target to increase post-consumer PET bale input to 750,000 tons or 50 billion bottles per year by 2025, and 1.5 million tons or 100 billion bottles per year by 2030. We are also educating people on the circular qualities of PET and the crucial role consumers can play in preventing the mismanagement of PET waste.
How can Thailand stand out as a petrochemical powerhouse on the world stage?
The Thai government had a forward-thinking vision to build the National Petrochemical Complex (NPC) in Rayong province. Here, we have a highly competitive cluster of chemical companies, probably the largest in the region, but we lack favorable trade regulations and tariffs that other countries have. This limits Thailand’s export potential and makes the industry overly dependent on the local market.