High-tech plastics factory to boost Alentejo’s economy

The construction of a new plastics factory in the south of Portugal will bring jobs and know-how, and increase the competitiveness of a region which is in need of an economic boost.

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Known for its rolling hills and rich soil, the Alentejo region’s main industry is agriculture. This project aims to construct a production plant for a chemical known as PTA (Purified Terephthalic Acid) in the industrial area of Sines. Portugal has made the case for public funding for this project based on the fact that it will have a significant effect on high-skilled employment, boost the economy in this area and lead to other socio-economic benefits.

A chemical solution

The company responsible for the project is a joint venture called Artlant PTA which has four shareholders – La Seda de Barcelona (LSB), ECS Capital, Caixa Capital and InovCapital. The majority shareholder, LSB, is an industrial plastic packaging group. For this project, Artlant PTA will oversee the construction of a factory, storage silos for both raw materials and finished product, installing piping, a treatment plant as well as office space for the administrative and logistics departments. Licences will be acquired by Artlant PTA to ensure that the best available technologies can be used.

The product to be manufactured – PTA – is a chemical used in the production of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) and in artificial fibres for the textile industry. PET is one of the most commonly used plastics used in the packaging industry and more recently has become, through technological advances, more environmentally friendly, sustainable and recyclable than other polymers. 700 000 tonnes of PTA will be manufactured in the new factory and this chemical will then be used throughout the industrial zone of Sines.

Kick-starting the industry

The benefits of this project are clear. Employment is the main goal and will be created both directly and indirectly. During the implementation phase, 25 jobs are aimed to be created directly and 50 indirectly. During the operational phase, 125 jobs are aimed to be created directly and 150 jobs indirectly. This will have positive economic and social repercussions. Crucially, the majority of these jobs will be highly skilled bringing high-tech know-how into the region.

Local production of PTA will bring added value to Portugal’s petrochemical sector. In addition, the world-class techniques used in the factory will lead to a significant increase in productivity and will ensure that negative effects on the environment are minimal. Overall, implementation of this project will have a positive effect on the competitiveness of the region in keeping with the ambitions of the operational programme.

Total and EU funding

The project “Artlant PTA, SA” has a total eligible budget of EUR 399 945 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 38 821 849 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date