14 January 2008 00:00 [Source: ICB]
India-Russia JV to start TiO2 in 2009
The Indo-Russian titanium dioxide (TiO2) joint venture (JV) between India's Saraf Agencies, Russia's state-run Vnesheconombank and Russian chemical trader Technochim Holding, plans to commission its 40,000 tonne/year plant at Gopalpur, India, during the fourth quarter of 2009. The JV will source ilmenite feedstock from Indian Rare Earths.
Eastman offers upside guidance
Eastman Chemical's underlying fourth-quarter 2007 earnings per share are expected to be above the high end of the current range of analyst estimates of $1.06 (€0.72). Results will include the positive impact of selling prices offsetting higher raw material and energy costs, earnings from licensing acetyl technology, and lower operating costs.
Bayer, ADM, Daimler to develop biofuels
Bayer CropScience, Archer Daniels Midland and automaker Daimler have signed an agreement to develop the production and quality standards of jatropha-based biodiesel. Jatropha, a tropical crop that can be grown on marginal land, is seen by the three companies as a promising alternative energy feedstock for sustainable fuel as it does not compete with land used for food production.
EC contemplates carbon tax on imports
The European Commission will consider imposing import duties on goods produced in countries that fail to agree to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. "We do not foresee the need to go down that route at the moment," said Commission spokeswoman Barbara Helferrich. "But it is an option that we may consider if European Union businesses are being disadvantaged."
China to ban free bags
China has banned shops from giving out free plastic bags, along with the production of ultrathin bags, starting June 1, 2008, to prevent pollution and encourage recycling. The country will not produce, sell or use plastic bags thinner than 0.025mm, China's top legislative body said in a statement on the government's website. These bags tear easily and are usually thrown away, causing pollution, the State Council said.
IPIC plans Kazakhstan petrochemical plant
Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC) and Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGas have signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a petrochemical complex in western Kazakhstan. A feasibility study on the project is under way.
DuPont forecasts 11% jump in 2007 profits
DuPont expects full-year 2007 earnings growth of over 11% on better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. It has also raised its outlook for 2008. The company said full-year 2007 earnings per share (EPS) will be at the upper end of the previously announced $3.15-3.20 (€2.15-2.18) range. For 2008, DuPont raised its EPS outlook to $3.35-3.55, up from its previous estimate of $3.31-$3.52.
Austria's Energy Bio to buy Romania's Carom
Austrian company Energy Bio Chemicals will sign a contract to acquire a majority stake in Romanian synthetic rubber manufacturer Carom Onesti, said a source close to the deal. Romanian privatization agency AVAS currently holds a majority stake in Carom and tried three times last year to sell its assets. AVAS is targeting at least €25m ($36.8m) from the sale of Carom.
Lenzing closes the purchase of Dolan
Lenzing Plastics has finalized the purchase of specialty fiber producer Dolan. Dolan, which had been a subsidiary of Kelheim Fibres, is now a full subsidiary of Lenzing Plastics. Dolan produces a range of acrylic fibers for outdoor products and had sales of €25m ($37m) in 2007.
INEOS Phenol may be down until February
INEOS Phenol will wait until its entire phenol/acetone Antwerp, Belgium, production is back on stream and operating normally before lifting force majeure. The first line at INEOS Phenol's Antwerp plant, which has a phenol capacity of around 220,000 tonnes/year, is in the process of restarting, but on-spec material has not yet been produced. The other line, with phenol capacity of around 460,000 tonnes/year, is scheduled to restart toward the end of January or early February.
DSM invests €15m in new resins plant
DSM will construct a €15m ($22m) wet polyesters and specialty resins production plant in Meppen, Germany, to meet growing demand for the product. The plant will be completed in the first half of 2009 and will allow for further expansions in the future, according to DSM.
ChemChina to spend $96m to curb emissions
China National Chemical (ChemChina) plans to spend yuan (CNY) 700m ($96.3m) in 2008 on a pilot project to curb emissions at more than 10 of its chlor-alkali plants and refineries. The project is part of ChemChina's target to achieve zero emissions, and the company will tap into the expertise of its two wastewater treatment firms to improve the plants.
AMVAC to buy valent's insecticide unit
Valent USA is to sell its Orthene insecticide product line to AMVAC Chemical for an undisclosed amount. The companies have reached a definitive agreement on the sale, which was expected to close by mid-January. The sale will allow Valent to focus on its crop protection products portfolio and new materials.
Sika to acquire waterproofing firm Tricosal
Switzerland-based Sika has agreed to buy the German waterproofing company Tricosal, for an undisclosed sum, to expand its product range and know-how for structural sealing. "With Tricosal's area-wide sales and marketing network, which comprises four subsidiaries, and with its construction site services, Sika [will be able to] strengthen the project business in the German market," Sika said.
Cambrex to acquire Estonia's ProSyntest
US-based Cambrex has agreed to acquire Tallinn, Estonia-based ProSyntest, an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) research and development company. "ProSyntest, located in Eastern Europe, will enable Cambrex to compete more effectively in the high-growth, early-clinical-stage pharmaceutical custom development market and provide us with a strong pool of talented chemists to advance numerous proprietary strategic initiatives," said Cambrex chief operating officer Steven Klosk.
PolyOne revamps polymer systems
US-based PolyOne is splitting up its polymer coating systems (PCS) business into two units. PolyOne's Wilflex inks and specialty colorants business will be combined with its BayOne equity investment - a joint venture with Bayer MaterialScience - to form an operating unit named Specialty Inks and Polymer Systems. The remaining PCS business, comprising plastisols and coated fabrics, will be integrated with PolyOne's vinyl business and combined with the specialty resins business to form a unit named Specialty Resins and Coatings.
Mosaic profits soar on record prices
US-based Mosaic's operating profits for its fiscal second quarter (ending November) rose by 484% year-over-year to $529.6m (€361.6m), driven by higher selling prices for phosphates and potash, and favorable fertilizer market conditions. Sales jumped by 44% to $2.2bn.
RPM's Q2 operating profits rise BY 22%
RPM International's fiscal second-quarter operating earnings rose by 22% year-over-year to $93m (€63m), on the back of new products and diversification, and despite negative impacts on its consumer business from the weak US housing market. Sales also rose by 12% to $905.7m.
Lanzhou, GPRO to build Aromatics plant
Lanzhou Petrochemical, a PetroChina subsidiary, plans to build a C4-processing unit and a butyl rubber plant with Jiangsu GPRO Group. The companies signed an agreement to build a 200,000 tonne/year C4 procesing unit in Lanzhou, Gansu province, to produce benzene, toluene, mixed xylenes (BTX) and C9 products. A 60,000 tonne/year butyl rubber plant will also be built.
Huntsman begins Texas ethylene turnaround
Huntsman has shut down its 425m lb/year (193,000 tonne/year) Port Neches, Texas, US, A3 ethylene unit for a 55-day turnaround. The company said it will also perform repair activities at the unit during the turnaround.
UPM eyes China biorefinery
Finnish paper and forestry group UPM is exploring a possible biorefinery project in China that would produce papermaking fiber and biochemicals from agricultural residues and other nonwood feedstocks. Nonwood feedstocks are abundant in many highly populated countries that have a shortage of papermaking fibers, UPM said.
Maersk line to cut 3,000 jobs
Denmark-based Maersk Line will shed up to 3,000 jobs, or 10% of its workforce, to improve margins. The company operates a fleet of container vessels aggregating more than 1m 20-foot-equivalent units, much of which transports chemicals in dry boxes and tank containers. Maersk will focus on filling its ships with profitable cargoes and providing a more responsive service that allows the carrier to be closer to its customers.
Reliance and HPCL lease sugar mills
India's Bihar state awarded 60-year contracts to Reliance Industries Ltd.and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. to revive four of its ailing sugar mills in a bid to make the region an ethanol hub in the country, Bihar's sugarcane minister Nitish Mishra told ICIS. The ethanol processing capacity of each of these facilities would be at the discretion of the companies that run them, he said, adding that each unit has a sugarcane crushing capacity of about 1,000-1,200 tonnes/day.
Taiwan's CPC plans BTX turnarounds
Taiwanese aromatics major Chinese Petroleum Corp. will commence maintenance turnarounds at four of its units producing benzene, toluene and mixed xylene (BTX) from the third quarter of 2008, said a company source. The company plans to shut down its No. 6 BTX unit from mid-August to mid-September, he said. The Linyuan-based plant produces 50,000 tonnes/year of benzene, 130,000 tonnes/year of toluene and 170,000 tonnes/year of mixed xylenes.
OMNOVA buys out Chinese, Thai JVs
OMNOVA Solutions has acquired the remaining 49.9% stake in its Thai and Chinese joint-venture manufacturing businesses from former partner CPPC Public Company, an affiliate of Thailand's Charoen Pokphand Group. "It allows us to more aggressively participate in the tremendous expansion under way in the region with innovative technology and products," said Kevin McMullen, OMNOVA Solutions chairman and CEO.
Cabot buys assets of AP Materials
US-based Cabot has acquired the assets and technology of AP Materials, which produces metallic and ceramic powders. "The flame synthesis technology developed by AP Materials provides an exciting new platform for the manufacture of high surface-area metal and metal alloy powders," said Eduardo Cordeiro, general manager of Cabot Supermetals.
TDG Chemicals plans further acquisitions
UK logistics company TDG Chemicals plans further acquisitions over the next 18 months, said managing director Graeme Rooney in an interview with ICIS. "We will be seeking to strengthen our European position further, not just by winning major contracts, but particularly by further collaboration and acquisition," he said. TDG acquired Belgian logistics firm Mond & Cie in March 2006, and Spain's Doman in March 2007.
Heaven Petroleum to start biodiesel
Peru's Heaven Petroleum expects to begin operation at its biodiesel plant by the end of the month, and sales of the fuel are slated to start in February. The company's plant, which is south of Lima, will have a biodiesel capacity of 50,000 gals (189,250 liters)/day. The Ministry of Energy and Mines awarded Heaven Petroleum the first license to distribute biofuels on the local market.
US EIA raises 2008 oil forecast to $87/bbl
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that 2008 West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil prices will average $87/bbl, up from $85/bbl in a previous forecast, but added prices will ease in 2009 as both global production and capacity grow. The January edition of the EIA's monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook said oil prices were expected to average about $82/bbl in 2009, compared with $72/bbl in 2007.
Rohm and Haas opens china emulsions plant
Rohm and Haas has started up operations at a new 20,000 tonne/year binders and emulsions plant in Sanshui, in China's Guangdong province, as part of its commitment to the growing coatings market in South China. The company invested $10m (€6.8m) and aims to expand the facility in line with demand growth in the coatings market in South China, a region that comprises 40% of China's total coatings industry.
Azelis buys Turkish distributor Tara Kimya
Azelis has agreed to acquire Turkish specialty chemical distributor Tara Kimya, for an undisclosed sum. With sales of €10m ($15m) in 2007, Tara operates two warehouses in Istanbul, supplying the Turkish paint, varnish, ink, adhesive and construction sectors.
IMCD acquires Solvadis Austria
Sales and distribution company IMCD Austria has acquired specialty chemical distributor Solvadis Austria, strengthening its position in food, feed and pharmaceuticals and expanding its presence in industrial chemicals. Solvadis Austria will be merged into IMCD Austria and will shortly operate from IMCD's office in Vienna.
Perstorp purchases China polyols business
Sweden-based Perstorp has bought China's second-largest manufacturer of neopentyl glycol from China's Zibo Linzi Yongliu Chemical Industry Stock Co. Through its joint venture, Shandong Fufeng Perstorp Chemical Co. Ltd., Perstorp signed the agreement to buy the Shangdong-based manufacturing business, which also includes a 20,000 tonne/year manufacturing plant in Zibo city.
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