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HOUSTON – Today, Kuraray America, Inc., a global leader in specialty chemical, fiber and resin production, celebrates the grand opening of its new, $300 million, 81-acre, green-field Kuraray Poval™ plant in Pasadena, Texas. The opening of this plant further distinguishes Kuraray Co., Ltd. as the largest producer of polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) in the world.
“Today is an exciting opportunity for Kuraray America, Inc., as we continue to increase our footprint within the Bayport area. Adding the Kuraray Poval™ site to our portfolio will only ensure continued growth for our company and provide our customers with the ability to purchase product from a truly global scale,” said Bob Chvala, Vice President and General Manager of the PVOH Business Unit for Kuraray America, Inc.
The new Kuraray Poval™ plant will produce 40,000 metric tons of PVOH annually and employ a total workforce of nearly 100 employees (54 Kuraray employees and 40 contract personnel). Kuraray America, Inc. employs over 400 people in the Houston area, with 3 additional plant sites and the Americas headquarters located in the region. Kuraray Poval™ is used in a wide range of industries, including paper, textile, emulsion, PVC, construction, adhesives, and films.
“With the opening of our new Kuraray Poval™ plant today, we are providing additional, needed supply to our customers around the world,” said George Avdey, President and CEO of Kuraray America, Inc. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication to safety of our Kuraray employees in opening this plant, we can offer product from around the world, further enhancing our global resources and supply.”
Kuraray America, Inc.’s grand opening festivities were infused with Japanese customs, including a samurai sword ribbon cutting, Daruma painting of the eye and a Kagamiwari (sake barrel) ceremony. Executives from Kuraray Co., Ltd.’s Japanese headquarters, including President and CEO Masaaki Ito, participated in the ceremonies.
Production of PVOH has already started at the new plant. PVOH is a unique, functional resin that Kuraray Co., Ltd. first industrialized in the 1950s. Kuraray Poval™ has a variety of characteristics such as superior adhesive strength, film formation, emulsifying properties and oil-resistant abilities. The polymer’s water solubility is its most distinct characteristic, along with its ecological advantage of being biodegradable. The physical and chemical properties of Kuraray Poval™ make it ideal for a wide variety of applications, including adhesives, paper, ceramics and films.