SCG Chemicals upbeat after breakthroughs


SCG CHEMICALS yesterday announced that its joint research with Oxford University in the United Kingdom had resulted in some "breakthrough" inventions that would have a major impact on the polymer-composites industry worldwide.

Cholanat Yanaranop, president of SCG Chemicals, the largest company in the Siam Cement Group, said it had achieved many breakthroughs in nano-technology and had registered many patents, with prototype products expected to be launched by the end of the year. The products include barrier film for the food-packaging industry and flame-retardant film.
“It’s a breakthrough. It’s something new for the world,” he said.
Cholanat, who led the first-ever press visit to SCG’s research and development centre in Rayong, said SCG Chemicals had accelerated its achievements in research and development, especially after entering collaborations with leading international researchers such as Oxford and the Norner Group of Norway.
SCG Chemicals plans to double its R&D investment from Bt1 billion last year to Bt2.109 billion this year, partly to help finance its acquisition of Norner and to build a prototype factory.
The research budget will account for 44 per cent of SCG’s total R&D budget.
Professor Dermot O’Hare, director of the SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence for Chemistry, said the research collaboration would lead to commercialisation of a new polymer composite that would make a huge impact on the composite sector.
“They will dominate this sector,” he said. SCG started its R&D collaboration with Oxford in 2011 and is currently the largest player in Oxford labs, second only to Rolls-Royce, Cholanat said.

Early stage
Nevertheless, SCG Chemicals is still at the beginning stage in the R&D area, when considering its R&D investment is less than 1 per cent of sales compared with 3-5 per cent by companies that are leaders in high-value-added products (HVAs). It has only 300 researchers, compared with 5,000 or even 20,000 at some large global companies, he said.
“But in the next five years, SCG Chemicals should be transformed a lot, in terms of products and its businesses,” he said.
For example, the company has started to venture into service and consultancy businesses as well as HVA non-chemical businesses, Cholanat said.
SCG Chemicals targets increasing sales from HVA products and services to 29 per cent of total sales, up from 27 per cent last year. It also plans to introduce 14 new products this year.
Meanwhile, Cholanat told reporters yesterday that the company expected to finalise in the second or third quarter of this year the construction cost of its Long San petrochemical complex in Vietnam, a crucial factor before deciding whether to go ahead with the US$4.7-billion (Bt153-billion) project.