05 November 2007 00:00 [Source: ICB]
US PET firms file dumping complaint
US-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) firm SKC Films has joined DuPont Teijin Films, Mitsubishi Polyester Film of America and Toray Plastics America in filing a complaint with the US Commerce Department over alleged product dumping by PET film producers in Brazil, China, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. The companies said they are losing some $200m annually to dumping.
HPCL plans aromatics complex and cracker
India's Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) is planning a refinery, aromatics complex and naphtha cracker at the proposed mega-chemical hub at Vizag, Andhra Pradesh state, India. The expansion will be separate from its existing 7.5m tonne/year refinery at the site.
Solutia receives $2bn in financing
Solutia has received a fully underwritten commitment for $2bn (€1.4bn) of exit financing to help it emerge from bankruptcy. The financing will be used to pay certain creditors. Solutia also plans to raise $250m in new equity.
PCBL to commission carbon black project
India's Phillips Carbon Black Ltd. (PCBL) plans to commission its carbon black expansion project at Cochin, in Kerala, India, during June 2009. The project will boost capacity to 90,000 tonnes/year from 40,000 tonnes/year, and raise electricity cogeneration capacity to 14.5MW from 2.5MW.
Canada fines Bayer for rubber price fixing
The Canadian Competition Bureau has fined Bayer Canadian dollars (C$)3.645m ($3.46m), after the company pleaded guilty to taking part in three international price conspiracies. The regulator fined Bayer AG C$2.9m for its part in a rubber chemical conspiracy and C$400,000 for its role in a nitrile rubber conspiracy. It fined Bayer's US subsidiary C$345,000 for conspiracy to fix the price of aliphatic polyeter polyols made from adipic acid.
IOC considers two $1.25bn PX projects
Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) is looking into the construction of two paraxylene (PX) plants at its refineries in Gujarat and West Bengal, at a cost of $1.25bn (€862m). The company had already applied for environmental approval for the setting up of a PX line in Gujarat, along with the expansion of its refinery.
Wellman hires Lazard
US polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producer Wellman has hired investment bank Lazard Freres to "explore strategic alternatives" for the company. The company also said it was seeking additional cost cuts of up to $25m (€17m) next year. Wellman posted an underlying operating loss of $11.3m for the third quarter, versus a $2.3m loss in the same period last year.
Acquisitions boost Kemira's Q3 profit
Finland-based Kemira posted a 6% year-on-year rise in third-quarter operating profit to €79.5m ($115m), boosted by acquisitions. The company posted a 12% year-on-year increase in revenue to €729.5m. Net profit was up 15%, to €52.9m.
Asahi Kasei sees profits jump 59%
Japan's Asahi Kasei posted a 59% jump in its first-half operating profits to yen (Y) 36.2bn ($315.9m) on 13.2% higher sales of Y446.4bn. Sales of acrylonitrile and styrene monomer rose, boosted by overseas demand.
Rockwood posts 15.8% profit gain
US-based Rockwood Holdings reported a 15.8% increase in third-quarter operating income to $93m (€64m), on sales of $829.6m, up 12% from the same period last year. Net income was $24.7m, up from $21.4m in the 2006 third quarter. Shares of the stock rose 3.4% to $39.09 on the results last Wednesday.
Shell on track in singapore petchems
Shell said its petrochemical project in Singapore - its largest single investment in Asia - was on schedule for a 2009-2010 start-up. "The majority of construction contracts have been awarded and the amount of resources mobilized is increasing daily," Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex general manager Peter Eigsberg said.
Huntsman opens asian polyetheramine plant
Huntsman has started commercial operations at its new 16,000 tonne/year Jeffamine polyetheramine manufacturing facility at Singapore's Jurong Island. The $40m facility, which was commissioned and began production in June, is the company's first production site in Singapore.
Nalco falls short of expectations
Nalco reported a 6.7% increase in third-quarter adjusted operating profits to $195.3m (€135m) despite ongoing problems in its European business. However, Nalco shares plunged 9.6% to $24.86 last Wednesday as the results fell short of Wall Street expectations.
Sasol mulls coal-to-liquids in India
South Africa-based Sasol Oil is carrying out a pre-feasibility study for setting up its synthetic fuels complex in India. "India is a very good place to invest for us. The country seems more structured to do business with compared to China, and South Africa and India have better relations as well," Smangele Mothoa, a business analyst in international marketing for Sasol told ICIS.
China's PVC Middle East exports surge
China's third-quarter exports of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to the Middle East rose by 270% year-on-year. The trend is expected to continue as Middle East demand increases and regional availability becomes restricted, said suppliers, traders and end-users. Middle East imports of Chinese PVC surged to 34,633 tonnes during the quarter.
India's NPL to double H202 capacity
India's National Peroxide Ltd. (NPL) is planning to double the capacity of its hydrogen peroxide (H202) plant at Kalyan, Mumbai, to 100,000 tonnes/year by 2011. In the first phase, the company will raise the plant's capacity to 75,000 tonnes/year by 2009. Another 25,000 tonnes/year will be added by 2011.
Evonik buys out carbon black JV
Evonik has bought ECI's 50% stake in the two firms' carbon black joint venture for an undisclosed sum. Degussa Engineered Carbons (DEC) will be run as a fully owned subsidiary of Evonik, which plans to expand the business in North America. DEC was formed in 2002 when Degussa and ECI combined their carbon black businesses in North America.
Reliance plans PTA and polyester plants
India's Reliance Industries plans to build world-scale purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyester plants downstream of its proposed paraxylene (PX) project in Jamnagar, India, a source close to the company said. "The PTA plant would have a capacity of 700,000-1m tonnes/year, while the polyester plant would have a capacity of 700,000 tonnes/year. Both the plants are likely to be onstream in 2010," the source said.
Showa Denko posts 1.4% rise profits
Japan-based Showa Denko recorded a 1.4% increase in its nine-month operating income, due to restructuring and cost-cutting measures. Consolidated operating income was yen (Y) 52.4bn ($455.2m) on 11.6% net sales of Y744bn. Net income fell 16% to Y21bn.
Steel Partners takes Chinese fertilizer stake
Liuzhou Chemical, a Chinese fertilizer producer, said Hong Kong-based private equity firm China Access has signed a letter of intent with its parent to take a stake of up to 48%. China Access, a unit of US private equity firm Steel Partners, will inject cash into Liuzhou's state-owned parent.
Asahi Glass posts 56% rise in profits
Japan's Asahi Glass posted a 56.3% jump in its chemical operations' nine-month operating income on the strength of chlor-alkali and urethanes. Operating profits were yen (Y) 10.9bn ($95.1m, €65.7m) on 5.5% higher sales of Y235.4bn.
Green Fuel plans to build in Bulgaria
Spain's Green Fuel has announced plans to construct a €50m ($71.9m) biofuels complex in Riben, Bulgaria, which it believes could satisfy 50% of the country's biodiesel requirements. Construction of a 110,000 tonne/year biodiesel facility and a 60,000 tonne/year bioethanol plant should begin in February 2008.
Dow Chemical ends VAM force majeure
Dow Chemical ended force majeure and related allocations for vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) last Thursday. "Our supply has recovered sufficiently and we can again meet our commitments and contractual agreements for VAM as we did before the September 3 force majeure event," said Antulio Borneo, global business director, VAM. Dow's Texas City, Texas, US, plant has VAM output of 365,000 tonnes/year.
Rhodia to expand Asian oil field business
France-based Rhodia will boost its activities in the oil field market in Asia-Pacific, to meet growing demand for performance chemicals for oil application. Rhodia will add a unit to its Asian-Pacific multidisciplinary research and development center in Shanghai, China, to focus on formulations, surfactants and phosphorus chemistry. The company has also created an oil field technical support center in Singapore.
UOP wins deal for MX expansion
Honeywell's UOP chemical processing business has won a contract to supply its metaxylene technology for Mitsubishi Gas Chemical's (MGC) proposed expansion in Mizushima, Japan. The project would increase MGC's meta-xylene capacity at its Mizushima plant by 70,000 tonnes/year, to 220,000 tonnes/year, when it comes onstream in late 2009.
Fosfertil sulfur demand to rise
Brazil's Fosfertil will require 1m tonnes/year of sulfur once the 250,000 tonne/year expansion of its Uberaba phosphoric acid plant is completed in 2010, a company official said. The company will require an extra 200,000 tonnes/year of sulfur, once its expansion to 925,000 tonnes/year is completed, on top of the current requirement for 800,000 tonnes/year.
Sintex buys Nief Plastics for €30.7m
Indian polymer processing major Sintex Industries Ltd. (SIL) has bought France's Nief Plastics for €30.7m ($44.2m) in cash. Nief manufactures plastic components for the automobile, electrical and defense industries, at 11 production facilities, including two in Eastern Europe and two in Africa.
Novapex mulls new IPA plant
Novapex is considering building a 40,000 tonne/year isopropyl alcohol plant in southeast France to meet increased demand. The facility would produce isopropyl alcohol from acetone sourced from Novapex's Roussillon, France site. Novapex said the unit could be commissioned in the second half of 2009.
SABIC to boost polycarbonate
SABIC Innovative Plastics plans to double capacity at its Vadodara polycarbonate compounding facility in Gujarat, India, on the back of growing demand. "We plan to increase capacity from 30,000 tonnes/year, to 60,000 tonnes in three phases over three years," Prabir Das, vice president of the company's commercial resins segment, told ICIS.
BASF stock falls despite strong Q3
BASF's share price dropped by more than 2% last Tuesday despite the firm reporting strong gains in third-quarter earnings and predicting record full-year results. BASF posted a 17.5% year-on-year rise in its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to €1.7bn ($2.46bn). Net sales were up by 5% to €13.96bn. Citigroup said the results were slightly below its estimates.
ICI posts 9% rise in Q3 trading profit
ICI posted a 9% year-on-year rise in third-quarter trading profit to £168m ($349m/€242m) on Thursday due to strong performance in specialty starches and polymers, and decorative paints in Asia and Latin America. The firm's sales for the quarter were up by 1.6% to £1.27bn and adjusted net profit was up by 24% to £138m. ICI said it recorded quarterly losses on special items in operating profit of £11m related to transformation programs announced in May 2006.
India needs styrene monomer capacity
SI Group India said there is an urgent need for styrene monomer capacity in India, while Asia requires cyclohexanone, aniline and methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) capacities. Of the total styrene capacity of more than 14.8m tonnes/year in Asia, India is conspicuous by its absence, said Rajiv Pandia, managing director of SI Group.
Air Liquide to invest €15m in Japan EMC
Air Liquide will invest €15m ($10m) to set up an electronic materials center, in Harima Science Park in Ako, northwest of Osaka, Japan. The new center will be implemented by the company's fully owned subsidiary Japan Air Gases and will be dedicated to silane bundle transfilling and other high-value molecules. The center is expected to be operational by 2008.
VeraSun starts up fifth US ethanol plant
VeraSun Energy has started up its fifth US ethanol biorefinery, raising its total annual operating capacity to 560m gallons. The 110m gal/year unit at Albion, Nebraska, will process about 39m bushels of corn and can also produce 350,000 tonnes/year of distillers grains.
Meghmani plans 2009 start-up for caustic
India's Meghmani Organics expects to start commercial production at its rupees (Rs) 5.03bn ($127.9m) large-scale integrated caustic soda and chlorine complex in Gujarat, by January 2009. "We are optimistic that our vertical integration into the production of caustic soda and chlorine gas will yield sound and viable growth opportunities," said managing director Ashish Soparkar. The complex will produce 113,000 tonnes/year of caustic soda and 100,000 tonnes/year of chlorine.
Bayer opens PU plant in Thailand
Bayer MaterialScience has opened its first integrated polyurethane (PU) operation in Thailand, to cater for the products' growing demand in Southeast Asia. BaySystems ASEAN will provide customized PU systems to the region's appliance, construction, automotive and furniture sectors, from its plant in Samutprakarn province.
Novartis plans $700m cell culture facility
Novartis has announced its largest investment ever in manufacturing capacity, a $700m (€484m) biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Singapore. Construction of the cell culture facility is to begin in early 2008. The plant should be operational by the end of 2012. Biopharmaceuticals account for 25% of Novartis' product pipeline.
Perstorp purchases TallOil's biobusiness
Perstorp has acquired TallOil's bio-oil business, adding to its range of biofuels. No financial details were disclosed. The acquisition is to be carried out by Perstorp BioProducts, a company newly formed to focus on Perstorp's biofuels segment. Perstorp BioProducts also has an option to buy TallOil's bioethanol business.
Westlake adds $90m in chlor-alkali, PVC
Westlake Chemical Corporation is investing $90m (€62m) to expand its chlor-alkali and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin units, and to build a larger diameter PVC pipe plant at its Calvert City, Kentucky, US, manufacturing complex. The move will add 50,000 electrochemical units (ECUs) a year, bringing the unit's total capacity to 275,000 ECUs a year. PVC capacity will increase by 300m lbs/year (136,000 tonnes/year) to 1.7bn lbs/year. The new PVC pipe plant will produce about 50m lbs/year of product, increasing output to about 850m lbs/year. The expansion is expected to be complete by the second half of 2009.
American Vanguard to buy Hannibal plant
American Vanguard has exercised an option to acquire a plant that manufactures organophosphate insecticide products at BASF's Hannibal, Missouri, US, site. The deal is expected to close in late December.
Eastman finds partner for gasification plant
Eastman Chemical and Green Rock Energy have agreed to jointly develop a $1.6bn (€1.1bn) gasification project in Beaumont, Texas, US, that will turn petroleum coke into methanol, hydrogen and ammonia when operational in 2011. The project will be equally financed by Eastman and Green Rock, a company formed by D.E. Shaw and Goldman Sachs to invest in gasification projects.
Lurgi plans rollout of new biofuel tech
Lurgi says its second-generation biofuel technology will be available in 2010. The biomass-to-liquids technology converts biomass into bio-oil via fast pyrolysis, followed by the gasification of the oil into synthetic gas for fuel or methanol production. A demonstration plant for the first step is due onstream in 2007.
Evonik to sell off three businesses
Evonik Industries, formerly Degussa, plans to sell three chemical business units with combined annual sales of €500m ($713m): the cyanide and organic peroxide operations in Pullach and Hanau, Germany, and the subsidiary known as Alzchem Trostberg.
EC clears basell's lyondell acquisition
The European Commission has cleared Basell's proposed $19bn (€13bn) acquisition of Lyondell, saying the deal does not impede competition. Lyondell shareholders are scheduled to vote on the acquisition on November 20.
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