Meilan's cool rise to the top in refrigerants

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2012, 3:22am

A small maker of caustic soda and pesticides more than five decades ago, Meilan Chemical Group has grown into one of the top refrigerant producers on the mainland with annual revenue of more than three billion yuan (HK$3.67 billion).

The company, based in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, produces more than 40 kinds of chemical products including caustic soda, fluoro-refrigerant, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), methylene chloride, aniline and monomer of organic silicon.

In 2010, the company posted revenue of 3.5 billion yuan, and its products were sold to markets in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia, said China Chemical Industry News.

It competes with local rivals like Shandong-based Dongyue Group, which was listed in Hong Kong in 2007, and Zhejiang Juhua Co, a Shanghai-listed chemical producer.

Meilan started from a small factory in Taizhou, in 1958, formerly known as Taizhou Electrolysis Chemical Factory. In the early 1960s, the factory ran into difficulties due to a significant drop in domestic chemical product prices as the economy was severely hit by natural disasters.

It managed to survive the crisis by producing candles and perfume to earn extra cash. In 1969, it launched a pesticide, Dibaichong, that was well received in the market and won national awards. Meanwhile, it also expanded the production of chemical materials like caustic soda and PTFE.

In the late 1980s, it adjusted its product mix, invested more in research and development and introduced advanced technology and equipment. It was selected in 2000 as a key enterprise backed by the National Torch Plan, a scheme driven by Beijing to encourage innovation in hi-tech industry. It works on several projects with global partners like German electronics giant Siemens, US tech firm 3M and Japanese refrigerant maker Daikin.

It is the largest producer of chloroform in Asia and the largest perfluoropropylene maker in China, according to a report by Shenzhen-based market research firm CIConsulting.