New plant puts the seal on high performance

Prime Evolue Singapore produces the raw materials for a highly functional sealant film used in powder and liquid packaging, known as evolue.
Prime Evolue Singapore produces the raw materials for a highly functional sealant film used in powder and liquid packaging, known as evolue.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Rising affluence and a preference for packaged food is good news for operations like Prime Evolue Singapore - a new Jurong Island plant.

Trade and Industry Minister (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang spoke of the strengths of the chemical sector in his speech as guest of honour at the official opening of the US$115 million (S$161 million) plant yesterday.

He said the new facility will produce the raw materials for a highly functional sealant film used in powder and liquid packaging, known as evolue.

As a result, the new plant "will better position the company to serve the region's increasing demand for high-performance food packaging", he said.

The plant is being run by a subsidiary of joint venture partners Prime polymer Mitsui & Co. Prime Polymer is a partnership between Mitsui Chemicals and Idemitsu Kosan. It is their first such plant outside Japan.

The opening was marked by a celebration dinner at the Fullerton Hotel yesterday.

In his speech, Mr Lim said: "Manufacturing continues to be a key pillar of the Singapore economy and the energy and chemical industry remains a strong contributor to our manufacturing sector."

The industry, which contributed a fifth of Singapore's manufacturing value-added last year, employs over 25,000 people.

The plant, which has an annual capacity of 300,000 tonnes, started commercial operations last August with total investment capital of US$115 million.

A total of 68 new jobs have been created for Singaporeans since the plant's opening, including positions as process technicians and chemical engineers.

At the opening ceremony, Mr Lim also talked about the importance of equipping people with the relevant skills for the growing chemical industry.

He cited the example of Mr Goh Lak Whatt, in his late 40s, who joined Mitsui Elastomers Singapore as a shift supervisor in 2002.

Mr Goh went on to lead a team of process technicians as a production superintendent before becoming assistant manager and then manager for production.

In 2011, Mitsui Chemicals Group paid for Mr Goh to complete a part-time diploma, to better prepare him for his leadership role. Mr Goh, who graduated with a diploma in mechanical engineering from Singapore Polytechnic, has found the knowledge gained to be beneficial in his leadership role.

Mr Lim strongly urges companies to provide similar opportunities so that other workers in Singapore can upgrade their skillsets.

Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2017, with the headline 'New plant puts the seal on high performance'. Print Edition | Subscribe