24 March 2003 00:00 [Source: ICB]In an unprecedented move, Germany's Condea-Huntsman has taken the lead in announcing a price increase for maleic anhydride in Europe. The company intends to raise prices by 10%, a bigger increase than normally sought, from 1 April.
It is targeting price levels of E950/tonne, up from the current range of E850-860/tonne for molten material. Rolf Giessel, managing director, said the business has suffered a substantial depreciation in margins in the first quarter (Q1) as the cost of butane feedstock has soared by 30-40%.
The timing of the announcement has been chosen to coincide with what is traditionally the best time of year for demand. 'We are facing the strongest quarter of the year, and if we lose business because of sticking to the increase, then we accept that,' said Giessel.
Demand into the resins sector, the major consumer, has been flat in Q1 and the market is fairly balanced. However, Giessel said there is a shortage of solid material as imports from Asia have been absent from the market in recent months.
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