Octal targets meat and dairy packaging after PET expansion

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Polyethylene terephthalate

Packaging producer Octal is set to be the world’s largest PET producer, according to the company, after the business secured a US$296m loan to complete its second expansion phase.

Phase two of the plan will be commissioned from June 2012 and will add an additional 527,000 m/t of production at Octal’s PET resins and sheet packaging complex in Salalah, Oman.

The 400,000 metric tonne (m/t) facility was opened by the company in January 2009.

Privately-owned Octal claims the development will make the company the world's largest producer of PET resins on one site.

Presence in Europe

The company is predicting dramatic sales growth over the following two years and claims to be well positioned to serve India, China and established markets in Europe and North America.

Octal​said it is “strategically located​” outside the Straits of Hormuz to serve Eastern and Western markets with PET resin for products such as soft drinks and bottled water. The company also supplies these markets with PET sheet for thermoforming for clear rigid food and consumer packaging applications.

The company’s international office network currently spans the UK, Germany, China, Oman and the US with an additional customer support office planned to open in Europe in 2011, Octal 's managing director Nicholas Barakat told FoodProductionDaily.com.

We are also looking at putting recycled lines in Europe and the US,”​ he said.

Focus on yoghurt, meat and cheese

According Barakat, the​completion of its second phase of expansion will put the company “well on the way” ​to achieving US$1.5bn in annual sales by 2012, as it converts new PET sheet applications for products such as yoghurt, meat and cheese.

He said Octal was focusing on these products as the company saw​significant growth in these areas.

“Our patented DPET sheet properties can bring values to these segments by improving their productivity and costs,” ​said Barakat.

Double earnings

““Octal doubled its earnings in 2010 and we expect to do so again this year. By replacing all of Oman's PET imports, we are also generating significant additional cash flow for the local economy​,” said the managing director.

The $296m senior term loan was secured from a group comprising Bank Muscat, Bank Dhofar, National Bank of Oman, Bank Sohar, Ahli Bank and Qatar National Bank.

"Despite the challenges of the global downturn, Octal has delivered on its promises and raised nearly US$400m in 2009 and 2010. The fact that the region's financial community is again investing in our business reflects their confidence in our operations and ability to realise ambitious growth,​” Barakat​said.

Headquartered in Muscat, Octal has introduced what it calls an “industry first​” technology that combines the production of clear rigid polyethylene terephthalate sheet with the manufacture of PET resin in a single process.

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