HOUSTON, March 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE: WLK) is pleased to announce that its Founder and former Chairman of the Board, Ting Tsung "T. T." Chao, will be recognized for his outstanding contribution to the petrochemical community by the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) and the Founders Club during their annual award program to be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, on Sunday, April 3, 2005. This program will be held in conjunction with the annual Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, held as part of the 30th National Petrochemical Refiners Association (NPRA) International Petrochemical Conference.
As a pioneer in the chemicals and plastics industries with a career spanning more than 50 years, T. T. Chao founded and built many successful first-of-its-kind businesses in a number of countries around the world. The Chao family moved to Taiwan from Suzhou, China, in the late 1940s following World War II. In the mid-1950s, T. T., as he is fondly known by his friends and partners, co-founded Taiwan's first polyvinyl chloride (PVC) business with the backing of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and led its phenomenal growth as its founding president at the age of 32. A decade later, he established China Gulf Plastics Group, which included a number of the premier publicly held petrochemical and plastics manufacturers in Asia. As an entrepreneur, he was championing the art of globalization four decades ago and excelled in creating long term, synergistic international joint ventures. His partners included Chevron (Gulf Oil Chemical), Exxon/Mobil (Mobil Chemical), Sumitomo Corp, Mitsubishi Corp, DBS (the largest Singaporean bank), PNB (Malaysian Government's largest investment trust company), BTR Nylex, Norsk Hydro, Basell (Montell/Himont/Hercules), Mattel Toys and Reed Stenhouse. Twenty years ago, he entered the North American petrochemical industry with the acquisition of a polyethylene plant in Sulphur, Louisiana, and the creation of Westlake Polymers Corporation. True to his pioneer spirit, he built the first Asian sponsored grass roots ethylene cracker in North America, which is the cornerstone of the Westlake Chemical Corporation today.
In the late 1980s, T. T. Chao founded the Titan Group in Malaysia by building the country's first and largest integrated petrochemical complex in the state of Johor. Chao was honored by the King of Malaysia in 1999 for his contribution to the growth of the Malaysian petrochemical industry. In 1992, T. T. returned to Suzhou, his birthplace in China, and founded a joint-venture company consisting of a PVC resin plant and downstream calendering plant. He now serves as the Chairman Emeritus and Founder of the Titan Group and the Founder of Westlake Chemical Corporation.
"T. T. Chao is a true pioneer of the petrochemical and plastics industries in Asia," said Arnold Thackray, CHF president. "In the dark days following World War II, he was the first to build one of the most important plastics businesses in Taiwan, expanded to other Asian nations, then brought his considerable business acumen to America, resulting in further success. He is a truly global entrepreneur."
"We are honored that the CHF and the Founders Club have recognized our Founder for his vast achievements, inspiring leadership and overall contribution to the petrochemical industry and our company," noted Albert Chao, President and Chief Executive Officer of Westlake Chemical Corporation.
Westlake Chemical Corporation is a vertically integrated international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and fabricated products with headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company's range of products includes ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, EDC, VCM, PVC and PVC pipe and PVC windows, fence and decking components. More information about the company may be found at http://www.westlakechemical.com .
The statements in this release relating to matters that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially, based on factors including, but not limited to: the cyclical nature of the chemical industry; availability, cost and volatility of raw materials and utilities; governmental regulatory actions and political unrest; global economic conditions; industry production capacity and operating rates; the supply/demand balance for Westlake's products; competitive products and pricing pressures; access to capital markets; technological developments; and other risk factors. For more detailed information about the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, please refer to Westlake's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2004, which was filed in March 2005.
SOURCE Westlake Chemical Corporation
CONTACT: D. R. Hansen, Media, or Ruth I. Dreessen, Investor Relations,
both of Westlake Chemical Corporation, +1-713-960-9111
Web site: http://www.westlakechemical.com