The local/UK ICI Pakistan is planning an estimated $400 million investment to expand polyester fibre production and make polyester fibre ingredient purified terephthalic acid (PTA). Local contractor Descon Engineering has been appointed to carry out the work for the fibre plant. The plan to build a PTA plant has yet to be approved.

Descon has a turnkey contract to build a 50,000-tonne-a-year polyester fibre plant in Sheikhapura, Punjab. The Rs 4,000 million ($131 million) project will be near ICI Pakistan’s existing plant and will use its power generation and other infrastructure. Descon started work in April and is to complete the job in two years. ICI Pakistan now produces 30,000 tonnes of polyester fibre a year; the additional production will be sold to the local market.

The board of the UK’s ICI, which owns 61.5 per cent of the local subsidiary, is to decide whether to go ahead with a planned $250 million-300 million PTA plant this year. The plant, planned with a capacity of 400,000 tonnes a year, will be Pakistan’s first. Most of its output will be sold to the local polyester industry. The UK company’s own engineering arm would carry out most of the work, with civil works probably going to local contractors, ICI officials say.