Yip's Chemical Holdings, the world's fourth-largest solvent maker, may spend as much as 300 million yuan for acquisitions this year including an ink maker in Tianjin to strengthen its coating business, according to a company official. The company may splash out 200 million yuan to 300 million yuan and is considering several projects with one deal expected to be completed this quarter. The Tianjin ink maker it aims to buy is a supplier for Hong Kong-listed food and beverage maker Tingyi Holdings that owns the Master Kong brand. 'Master Kong is the biggest customer in our coating segment,' said Robert Young, a director of Yip's Chemical. 'We would like to supply more ink to the company for printing of packages.' Sales in coatings, which accounted for 36 per cent of total sales, rose 14 per cent to HK$844 million in the six months to September from a year ago, boosted by the mainland's fast-growing consumer market. Segment profit rose 17 per cent to HK$70.3 million. 'We will also expand our solvent segment, aiming to become the world's second-largest supplier after Celanese of the United States,' Mr Young said. The company's annual capacity would increase to about 290,000 tonnes by the end of the year, compared with 250,000 tonnes a year ago. This would further grow to 400,000 tonnes next year. The company's 75 per cent-owned Concord Chemical Storaging last month agreed to buy Taixing Jinjiang Chemical Industry, a manufacturer of ethanol and carbon dioxide, for 31.79 million yuan. 'At the end of this year, we can self-supply ethanol, a raw material of ethenyl ester or solvent,' said Mr Young. 'The purchase of Taixing will also help us to expand our solvent business to the Yangtze River Delta from Southern China at present.' Last month, the company reported a 14 per cent growth in its first-half sales to HK$2.35 billion while net profit rose 21 per cent to HK$155 million. Interim dividend was 10 HK cents per share, 25 per cent up. 'Yip's Chemical had stable performance in the past few years and was quite attractive to long-term investors,' said Patrick Yiu Ho-yin, an associate director at CASH Asset Management. Its shares, which gained 57 per cent last year, closed unchanged at HK$5.70 yesterday.