Qingdao, China – China’s largest carbon black maker Black Cat is planning to break ground on a research institute in Qingdao, Shandong province by the end of this year, the company told ERJ.
The company plans to pump €20 million (154 million yuan) into the Black Cat New Materials Institute specializing in nanocarbon composite materials, carbon nanocubes and the likes. “It will be China’s largest research facility [in investment] in the sector,” the company told ERJ.
The new site, located in the city’s Sino-German Ecopark with 27,000 square metre total area, contains two phases. Phase One includes a research lab and pilot trial plant; Phase Two includes another pilot trial plant and an office building.
Each pilot trial plant has 5,000 tonne annual capacity, the company told ERJ. The project is expected to fully come on stream in 2019.
Black Cat currently has nearly 1.1 million tonne per year capacity. Over the first half of 2017 the company reported a 57% jump in revenue to €395 million. Net profit over the same period reached €28 million, compared to over $7 million net loss in H1 2016.
China’s supply-side reform and tightened control over financial leverage and environmental compliance have lowered the capacity utilization rate of carbon black companies, especially those in north China near Beijing, said the company’s half year report.
The market was centralized in favour of large companies, and a stable demand added to Black Cat’s H1 performance, said the report. The company’s gross margin for carbon black business rose by 9% during the period to 22%.