ICI Pakistan is to go ahead with a plan to build the country’s first plant that will make the polyester ingredient, purified terephthalic acid (PTA). The board of ICI Pakistan’s parent company, the UK’s Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), has given its approval for the estimated $450 million plant, chief executive of the Pakistan subsidiary, Munnawar Hamid, told a news conference on 5 October (MEED 5:5:95).

‘It is a major vote of confidence in both the Pakistan economy and in ICI Pakistan for ICI to support this major capital investment,’ Hamid said. The plant, which will produce 400,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of PTA, will save $100 million a year in foreign exchange now spent on PTA imports, he added.

ICI will take a 61.5 per cent equity stake, with the remaining equity and financing for the project raised locally. The US’ Foster Wheeler is already drawing up the preliminary designs for the plant which will be built in Port Qasim.

Work is also in progress on a project, worth $104 million, to expand a polyester fibre plant at Port Qasim. When the project is completed in 1996, the plant will have capacity for 60,000 t/y of polyester fibre and 63,000 t/y of polymer. The local Descon Engineering is carrying out the project.