Nippon Shokubai to boost Indonesian acrylic acid output for diapers

30, Oct. 2018

TOKYO, NNA – Japanese chemical maker Nippon Shokubai Co. will ramp up its acrylic acid production capacity in Indonesia by about 70 percent to 240,000 tons from 140,000 tons annually in three years, as Asian demand for paper diapers for babies and seniors continues to grow.

The move is in response to strong global demand for the raw material of superabsorbent polymer, which is widely used to make disposable diapers.

“As the national income rises in developing countries in Asia, demand for disposable diapers is also growing,” Akira Kurusu, general manager of the IR and PR department at Nippon Shokubai, told NNA.

“In industrialized economies like Japan, there is also growing demand for disposable diapers for seniors as the population ages.”

The company will invest some $200 million in expanding the capacity at its existing factory in Cilegon City in Banten, the westernmost province on the island of Java. The product is supplied both domestically and to other Asian destinations.

The expansion work will be finished at the end of March 2021 and commercial operation of the new production line is scheduled to begin in November that year.

Nippon Shokubai is currently equipped to produce 880,000 tons of acrylic acid globally in five countries: Japan (540,000 tons), the U.S. (60,000 tons), Belgium (100,000 tons), Indonesia (140,000 tons) and Singapore (40,000 tons).

One rule of thumb to judge whether consumers can afford paper diapers in a country is whether its per-capita GDP has exceeded $3,000, Kurusu said.

Per-capita GDP in Japan was estimated to be at $38,428 in 2017 while it was $8,827 in China, $6,594 in Thailand and $3,847 in Indonesia, according to the World Bank. India is far behind at $1,940, but Vietnam, at $2,343, may soon be joining the ranks of paper diaper consumers.