21 April 2008 00:00 [Source: ICB]
DAK is frontrunner for Wellman buyout
DAK Americas is the favored buyer for bankrupt US polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyester staple fiber maker Wellman, said a source from a rival bidder. The acquisition would make the most sense for DAK and Wellman as DAK produces upstream terephthalic acid, which could resolve the issue of feedstock for Wellman's PET operations, the source said. DAK is one of the three short-listed companies in the sale of Wellman along with Indonesia's Indorama and India's Reliance.
Court mulls bonuses for Wellman execs
A bankruptcy court began a hearing last Tuesday to decide whether $2m (€1.3m) in pay bonuses should be awarded to the senior managers at US-based Wellman. Wellman proposed the bonuses, saying they would discourage its eight senior managers from abandoning the bankrupt company. Wellman is under a tight August 15 deadline to either sell itself or reorganize.
Laleh delays LDPE start-up to Q4
Iran's Laleh Petrochemical has delayed the start-up of its new 300,000 tonne/year low density polyethylene (LDPE) project in Bandar Imam, Iran, by six to seven months, to October or November, due to a problem with its reactor. "The new reactor will take several months to build, hence the delay," said a source close to the project. The unit was initially scheduled to come on stream this month.
Arya Sasol's LDPE plant to start
Arya Sasol is expected to achieve commercial output at its new low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in Assaluyeh, Iran, in May, a source close to the company said. The Iranian company began trial production at the 300,000 tonne/year plant early this month. Start-up, originally scheduled for September 2007, was deferred several times due to a shortage of personnel.
Jam Petrochemical begins HDPE exports
Iran's Jam Petrochemical has begun to export high density polyethylene (HDPE) from its recently started 300,000 tonne/year plant in Assaluyeh. "No details are available about the export destinations," a source close to the company said. The plant achieved on-spec production in late March, he added.
Bush said to eye mandatory GHG law
US President George W. Bush may soon declare support for mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions control legislation, sources said, marking an abrupt and sharp change of White House environmental policy. Sources on Capitol Hill and investment bankers said the White House is close to announcing the broad criteria that Bush would support in a mandatory federal plan to limit and reduce US emissions of carbon dioxide and other GHGs by industry, the power sector and transportation.
Bush, industry urge Colombia trade deal
US President George W. Bush urged Democratic leaders in Congress to pass a stalled trade agreement with Colombia that US chemical industry officials said is crucial for the sector's continuing growth. That agreement, which would bring an end to almost all Colombian tariffs on US goods, must be approved by Congress. "It is important to America's chemistry industry that the US engage in open markets and compete in those markets," said Mary Irace, managing director of global affairs at the American Chemistry Council.
SABIC drops plans to buy stake in Osos
SABIC has withdrawn plans to take a 35% stake in a $1bn (€640m) engineering plastics and specialty products project on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast. "After several rounds of negotiations, the two parties have not reached a final agreement about this project, and therefore SABIC decided to not take it any further," SABIC said. SABIC and Yanbu-based Osos Petrochemicals had signed a memorandum of understanding in January for the proposed acquisition.
China PO production capped for olympics
Chinese propylene oxide (PO) makers are likely to keep operating rates low in the second and third quarters, while grappling with feedstock costs and pollution control ahead of the Olympic games in August. Already facing swelling inventories, producers are also confronted by squeezed margins due to high raw material propylene and chlorine values, and expenses incurred by the required careful disposal of industrial pollutants. "The technology employed by most local producers generates 20 to 30 tonnes of waste water for every tonne of PO," a major producer in China said.
DC Chem wins $96m polysilicon deal
South Korean polysilicon producer DC Chemical has clinched its 11th polysilicon supply deal worth won 146.6bn ($95.6m) from Spanish solar wafer producer DC Wafers Investments Sociedad. DC Chemical will supply polysilicon to the company from the start of 2009 to the end of 2018. DC Chemical expects this deal to make up 10.9% of its total sales during the next 10 years.
Fluor wins polysilicon plant deal in China
US-based engineering firm Fluor has won a contract from LDK Solar to build the world's largest polysilicon pant in Xinyu City in China's Jiangxi province. The contract for the 15,000 tonne/year facility also included a 90,000 tonne/year trichlorosilane plant, chemical vapor deposition reactors, converters, associated utilities and infrastructure. Current global polysilicon capacity is 100,000 tonnes/year, according to Fluor.
Rhodia building Shanghai R&D center
France-based Rhodia has started building a new research and development (R&D) center in Shanghai, China, to drive growth in the Asia-Pacific region. The facility will employ 150 scientists focused on developing luminophores for low-energy lighting, engineering plastics and new solvents. The center will also develop environmentally sustainable formulations for paper recycling and oilfield chemicals.
Dow, GACL to build chloromethanes plant
Dow Europe and India's Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals have signed a 50:50 joint venture to build a 200,000 tonne/year chloromethanes plant in Gujarat. The production unit will be located at Dahej and is planned to be operational by 2011.
DSM to start up China polyamide plant
Dutch firm DSM Engineering Plastics plans to start up China's biggest polyamide 6 plant in July. Located in Jiangyin in the eastern province of Jiangsu, the plant has a nameplate capacity of 50,000 tonnes/year. The unit will get its feedstock caprolactam (capro) from a DSM joint-venture company in Nanjing. Polyamide 6 is mainly used in food packaging in China.
Rohm and Haas forms Saudi acrylic JV
Rohm and Haas and Tasnee and Sahara Olefins Co. (TSOC) have formed a joint venture (JV) to produce acrylic monomers in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The JV, called Saudi Acrylic Monomer Co. (75% TSOC, 25% Rohm and Haas), will build a plant with capacity of 250,000 tonnes/year of acrylic acid and related esters expected online at the beginning of 2011. Rohm and Haas will invest $50m (€31.3m) and license its technology to the venture.
Cargill, Elevance form wax partnership
Cargill Refined Oils Europe and newly formed US-based Elevance Renewable Sciences have reached a joint marketing agreement to provide new candle and corrugated products to European customers. Cargill, which supplies vegetable-based waxes to European candle and corrugated customers, will work with Elevance to accelerate the introduction of Elevance's technology and products across Europe. Elevance's technology and products will complement Cargill's Strahlux products line.
Outsourcing grows for personal care
Major personal care companies are relying more on contract manufacturers to strategically manage their supply chains. "Outsourcing manufacturing has become imperative to meet the shifting demands of the market as personal care companies increasingly focus on brands," said Dave Hempson, senior vice president of business development for US-based personal care contract manufacturer Marietta. Hempson spoke at the Soaps, Detergents, Oleochemicals and Personal Care (SODEOPEC2008) conference in Orlando, Florida, US.
CSB: US requires new fire code
The US needs a new national fire code for hazardous chemical waste facilities, the Chemical Safety Board said, following its investigation of a blaze at such a site in a suburb in North Carolina. The fire started on October 5, 2006, at an Environmental Quality Company hazardous waste transfer facility in Apex, near Raleigh. The site had no fire walls and no automatic fire suppression systems, the board said. Regulations do not specify what type of fire control equipment such sites should have.
Credit Suisse cuts Cytec, Hexcel estimates
Investment firm Credit Suisse lowered profit estimates on US advanced composite makers Cytec Industries and Hexcel, based on an expected six-month delay in delivering Boeing's 787 commercial aircraft. Credit Suisse cut its 2009 earnings per share (EPS) estimate on Cytec by 14 cents (€0.09), to $4.86, and on Hexcel by 10 cents to $1.14. The investment firm also cut its 2008 EPS estimate on Hexcel by 2 cents to 89 cents.
PolyOne rebrands vinyls unit as Geon
US-based PolyOne has rebranded its vinyls business segment as Geon Performance Polymers. The Geon segment includes Geon Compounds, which is the new name for PolyOne's vinyl compounds business, as well as specialty coatings and resins. M.A. Hanna merged with Geon to form PolyOne in 2000.
MTI Global to shutter Virginia silicone plant
US-based MTI Global plans to close its silicone plant in Buchanan, Virginia and move the operations to two other silicone plants. "The age and inefficient layout of the Buchanan facility, the projected costs of needed repairs, and the high cost of fuel oil were some the deciding factors to close the facility," MTI said. Most of the equipment and production will be moved to its facility in Milton, Florida, with the rest moving to Richmond, Virginia.
Desmet: fats-based biodiesel no cure-all
Alternative feedstocks such as recycled cooking oil, animal fats and recovered corn oil from the manufacture of ethanol can be costly for biodiesel production, according to engineering firm Desmet Ballestra. "There is no such thing as a free lunch with these cheaper feedstocks," said Chris Mitchell, Desmet biodiesel product manager, at the Soaps, Detergents, Oleochemicals and Personal Care Products conference (SODEOPEC2008) in Orlando, Florida, US. "They contain a substantial amount of contaminants that may require a large degree of pretreatment, resulting in added processing costs."
Chelants going green
Regulatory pressures are pushing the global chelants market to find greener alternatives, said Nick Dixon, product and technical manager, active chemicals at UK-based Innospec, at the Soaps, Detergents, Oleochemicals and Personal Care Products conference (SODEOPEC2008) in Orlando, Florida, US. Chelating agents such as ethylenedia-minetetraacetic acid (EDTA), diethylene triamine penta-acetic acid and phosphonates are particularly under pressure because of their poor biodegradability, he said.
Pilgrim's pride attacks ethanol
US poultry giant Pilgrim's Pride has launched an attack against the government's policies of encouraging ethanol production, saying it has hurt the chicken industry by making corn feed unaffordable. "Soaring feed ingredient costs fueled by the federal government's misguided ethanol policy has created a crisis in our industry," said CEO Clint Rivers. The firm will reduce weekly chicken production by 5% in the second half.
Arkema to cut GHGs at China unit by 60%
France-based Arkema will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 60% from its hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerant plant in Changshu, in eastern China, by burning a by-product. "The incinerator should become operational by mid-2008," the company said. Arkema estimates incineration will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6m tonnes/year.
US housing market to decline through 2008
The US economy has slipped into a recession, pulled down by the ongoing housing market decline that is now forecast to continue through the rest of 2008, according to David Seiders, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Previously, he had predicted that the decline in new home construction would bottom out in the third quarter.
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