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TOKYO, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp will invest about 50 billion to 60 billion yen ($590 million to $710 million) in a plant that will use low-cost materials from Dow Chemical Co and take advantage of cheap North American shale gas, the Nikkei business daily said.
Mitsubishi Chemical plans to build an acrylic resin-processing plant next door to a planned Dow ethylene plant in Freeport, Texas, as estimates put the cost savings of making chemicals there at about 95 percent of making them in Japan, the paper said on Sunday without citing sources.
Mitsubishi Chemical had been considering methyl methacrylate monomer production in the U.S., but nothing concrete has been decided, a Mitsubishi Chemical spokesman said.
Cheap shale gas is prompting petrochemical companies such as Chevron Phillips Chemical Co to build new plants in the U.S., intensifying price competition for resin products.
Mitsubishi Chemical's new plant will be able to make 250,000 million tons of acrylic resin materials a year, making it one of the largest in the world, the Nikkei said.
Acrylic resin is used in liquid crystal display panels, car lamps and construction materials, and the Japanese firm is eyeing rising demand in central and South America, Southeast Asia and in Africa.