SASB in talks to conduct R&D on kenaf polymer, mulls production facility,India; June 24, 2008
Malaysia’s Symphony Advance Sdn Bhd (SASB) has begun discussions
with Sirim and Mardi to conduct research and development on kenaf
polymer. Subject to the results of the R&D, SABS plans to establish a
production facility in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), possibly
in Terengganu.
Operations are expected to start as soon as the supply of kenaf is
stabilized. Kenaf is a fast growing plant that can be processed into
natural fibre composites used for car interiors, building boards and even
athletic wheelchairs.
SASB currently exports kenaf powder to Japan and Korea. Its operations
started in February by milling kenaf at the National Tobacco Board’s
facility. It recently started a 0.5 ha Collection, Processing and Marketing
Centre (CPMC) in Beris Lalang at a cost of RM1 million. SABS plans to
export kenaf composite material to its business partners in industrialised
Global demand is forecast to grow exponentially, especially in composite
materials, because kenaf is an environmentally friendly industrial plant
and organic material recognised by the Kyoto Protocol to mitigate global
warming. When kenaf is used in composite materials, companies can
enjoy special tax incentives when it is exported to the European Union
and the USA.
North American demand for both wood and agricultural fibre used as
plastic additives, is forecast to be in the range of 15-20% pa in
automotive applications, to 50% pa in selected building products. The
market for these composites is projected to nearly triple in size during
the next decade, and will increase demand for the nearly US$100 mln
(RM321 mln) additives segment of this market.