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UBE Corp. to build integrated DMC/EMC plant in Louisiana

| By Mary Bailey

UBE Corp. (Tokyo) announced that the company’s Board of Directors resolved to construct a dimethyl carbonate (DMC) and ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC) plant in the U.S. It also decided to increase capital in UBE C1 Chemicals America, Inc. (UCCA), a DMC/EMC manufacturing and marketing company which UBE wholly owns indirectly.

UBE has been conducting basic design with the aim of producing DMC and EMC for the U.S. market in the state of Louisiana. UBE has now decided to construct a plant capable of producing 100,000 metric tons of DMC per year and 40,000 metric tons of EMC, derived from DMC, per year. The total capital investment will be approximately $500 million, with the completion of construction scheduled for July 2026 and operations scheduled to begin in November 2026.

DMC and EMC are key components in lithium-ion battery electrolyte solvents. DMC is also used as a developing solution in semiconductor manufacturing processes. Demand in the U.S. for DMC and EMC is anticipated to grow with the spread of electric vehicles and the progress of digitalization. However, the U.S. currently depends entirely on imports for its supply of DMC and EMC. By constructing this plant, UBE plans to deliver a stable supply in the U.S. UBE also plans downstream expansion in the future into environmentally friendly products in the C1 chemical chain, such as polycarbonate diol (PCD) and waterborne polyurethane dispersion (PUD). UBE’s DMC is produced using the company’s proprietary gas phase nitrite process, which is characterized by lower energy, higher quality, and fewer byproducts than ethylene-based production methods. In the U.S., UBE will leverage inexpensive natural gas as a raw material to enhance cost competitiveness while reducing CO2 emissions compared to existing plants. In this way, UBE will solidify its position as a leading company.

As a first step, on November 13, 2023, UBE established UCCA in Louisiana as a company to manufacture and market DMC and EMC in the U.S. UBE has now decided to increase UCCA’s capital by USD 200 million through its U.S. holding company, UBE Corporation America Inc. (UCAI), to allocate funds for plant construction. As a result of this capital increase, UCCA’s capital value will be equivalent to more than 10% of the value of UBE’s capital. Therefore, UCCA will become a specified subsidiary of UBE. As an investment incentive confirmed at this point, approval for tax credits totaling approximately USD 80 million over the 10 years following the start of operations has been received from the Louisiana Economic Development Board of Commerce and Industry.