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Oman PET resin and sheet supplier Octal Holdings has said it will build sheet production facilities in Western Europe and the US in the next two years.

Octal expects export sales to grow from $400m this year to $1.1bn by 2011. Around two thirds of the firm's exports currently go to Europe and 30% is sold to the US. China has also been targeted as an area for growth and Octal has a sales office in Shanghai.

Managing director Nicholas Barakat told Haymarket publication, Packaging News, that the new sheet production facilities will come on line in the next 24 months and will process production waste from its customers.

Octal currently has 17 sheet production lines at its manufacturing facility in Salalah, of which two deal with recycled material. Barakat said that dealing with recycled material had always been a part of the firm's plans.

"We've been buying bottle scrap and running it through our machines creating a high quality product. The skeleton waste has a high value because it's virgin material," he said.

Octal has developed a preliminary carbon profile for its material, which it said was about 20% lower than other virgin sheets and was preparing for a sustainability audit.

"Our process is going to be competitive with recycled PET in terms of carbon emissions," said Barakat.

The economic downturn has hit the packaging materials sector, Barakat said, because consumers have bought less. There has also been a drive to lightweighting that has reduced demand for material.

"The positive is that efficiencies have been pushed into the market which will help when the upturn comes," he said.