While the blog is waiting for some answers from Versalis regarding their recent bio-butadiene joint venture announcement with Genomatica, let me post this news from France-based specialty chemical firm Arkema about its JV with castor oil and derivatives producer Jayant Agro.
It’s a great coincidence that I just posted about bio-polyamides this week as according to Arkema, its acquisition of a 25% stake in castor oil producer Ihsedu Agrochem, a subsidiary of Jayant Agrochem, will provide long-term secure and competitive access to castor oil — a strategic raw material for the manufacture of bio-polyamides.
Arkema said Ihsedu Agrochem has an experience of over 60 years in the processing of castor seeds into oil and has been one of Arkema’s main suppliers from the outset.
For those who are not familiar with the castor oil market, this industry has been known for the volatility in their prices because of fluctuating castor seed production especially in India, which is the largest producer and exporter of castor oil (followed by China and Brazil), as well as poor market trading infrastructure.
Arkema continues to be one of the leading consumer of castor oil for the manufacture of polyamides 10 and 11. As the blog mentioned before, the company is actually the sole producer of PA11 for almost 60 years under the brand Rilsan. Last year, Arkema bought China-based Hipro Polymers, a producer of PA10, and Casda Biomaterials, a producer of sebacic acid (a derivative of castor oil). Sebacic acid is used as a feedstock to manufacture PA10.
According to Arkema, the joint venture with Jayant Agro falls in line with its strategy to secure supply of a key raw material in order to support the development of its bio-polyamides in fast-growing applications such as materials for lighter vehicles and in oil and gas extraction.
The JV is expected to be finalized in the third quarter this year.
Here are some of the other well-known castor oil companies in major-producing countries as reported in late 2011 by Castoroil.in.