Kuraray recently broke ground on its greenfield Kuraray Poval (polyvinyl alcohol) plant in La Porte, Texas. This new plant will reportedly add to Kuraray’s portfolio of manufacturing in the U.S., including ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVAL) and co-block thermoplastic elastomers (SEPTON). Kuraray’s Poval plant will have a production capacity of over 40,000 tons in its first phase.

With operations to begin in early 2015, the company expects to add 107 jobs over the next two years to the Houston Bay Area. Kuraray’s strategy for growth within the Houston area is due to developments in natural gas exploration technology, specifically shale gas and the excellence of the area’s infrastructure and workforce.

“Kuraray felt this was an ideal place to establish a beachhead for further expansions,” said George Avdey, president and CEO of Kuraray America Inc., about Houston.

Kuraray has a long history in vinyl acetate derived products, beginning in 1926 with the production of synthetic rayon, then a cutting-edge technology. In the 1950s, Kuraray was Japan’s first domestic producer of synthetic fiber, becoming a world leader in the commercialization of PVOH fiber under the KURALON brand.

“Kuraray is one of the innovators and pioneers of the production of PVOH,” said Bob Chvala, vice president and general manager, PVOH Business Unit.

With the new plant, Kuraray will reportedly be able to supply Poval to customers with global needs and provide the ability to second source materials from its own facilities in order to meet the increasing demand.

 For more information, visit www.kuraray-poval.com.