01 November 2010 00:00 [Source: ICB]
BOROUGE GOES LIVE AT ABU DHABI POLYOLEFINS UNIT
Borouge has achieved commercial production at its expanded polyolefins complex in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, a source close to the project said. "The company has begun to export small quantities of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) from the expanded facility and will step up the volumes in the coming weeks," the source added. Following the start-up, the Abu Dhabi-based polymers producer has doubled its production of PE to 1.2m tonnes/year and begun to produce PP for the first time at its new 800,000 tonne/year plant at Ruwais. The mega-project Borouge 2, valued at an estimated $5bn (€3.65bn), triples the annual polyolefins production capacity of the plant to 2 million tonnes/year.
BASF REPORTS FIVEFOLD INCREASE IN Q3 NET PROFIT
German producer BASF's third-quarter (Q3) net profit has jumped more than fivefold year on year to €1.25bn ($1.71bn) on the back of a 23% surge in sales to €15.8bn. Its operating profit for the quarter soared to €2.16bn from €971m in the same period last year, the company said in a statement. "We are now profiting from the favorable economic environment," said BASF chairman Jurgen Hambrecht. Demand for BASF's products remained high in Q3, with hardly any sign of the usual seasonal slowdown. In the first nine months of the year, BASF recorded a net profit of €3.46bn, representing a significant increase from €955m in the same period in 2009. BASF more than doubled its operating profit for the January-to-September period to €6.07bn, with sales recording a 26.5% year-on-year increase to €47.5bn.
SHELL Q3 CHEMICALS SALES VOLUME JUMPS 13%
Anglo-Dutch major Shell has reported that volume sales at its chemicals segment grew by 13% year on year to 5.33m tonnes, helped by the start-up of its petrochemicals complex in Singapore. "Chemicals CCS [current cost of supplies] earnings compared to the third quarter [Q3] 2009 reflected improved realized chemicals margins, higher chemicals sales volumes and lower operating costs," the company said, without providing the figures. Shell said that during the three months to September, its chemicals manufacturing plant availability increased to 96% from 95% in the same period last year.
BAYER Q3 NET PROFIT UP 12% ON MATERIALSCIENCE
German specialty chemical manufacturer Bayer has reported a 12.4% increase in third-quarter (Q3) net profit to €280m ($384m) on improved performance from its MaterialScience business. Sales for the three months to September jumped by 16% to €8.58bn, with MaterialScience sales showing a 30.8% surge to €2.67bn. The segment enjoyed much higher demand from main customer industries, with earnings before interests, taxes and amortization (EBITDA) soaring by 72% to €409m. Group operating profit, however, slipped by 14% to €556m as it had set aside €436m in provisions for litigation. In the first nine months of 2010, the company's net profit was up by 24% to €1.50bn, on the back of a 12% growth in sales to €26.08bn.
STYRON BUYS 50% STAKE IN SUMITOMO DOW ASIA
US styrenics producer Styron has bought a 50% stake in Sumitomo Dow Asia Polycarbonate from Dow Chemical, also US, for an undisclosed sum. Sumitomo Chemical and Styron are now equal partners in the joint venture (JV). The transaction, which closed on 24 September, is consistent with Dow's divestiture of Styron to US private-equity firm Bain Capital Partners in June, a statement said. Styron said the JV would operate under a new name, which would be announced at the end of this year. It would continue to be headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. "We are very pleased that Styron is assuming this ownership share and that we can continue to build a successful joint enterprise with our valued partner, Sumitomo Chemical," said Styron CEO and president Chris Pappas.
PETROCHINA IN FOR BETTER Q4 ON STRONG CRUDE
State-controlled oil and gas player PetroChina may book better earnings in the December quarter, benefiting from the recent hike in domestic fuel prices amid continued strength in international crude values, analysts said last week. PetroChina had a 12.5% jump in third-quarter (Q3) net profit to yuan (CNY) 34.7bn ($5.21bn) as sales surged by 36% to CNY363bn because prices across all its products improved. Gordon Kwan, head of regional energy research at brokerage house Mirae Asset Securities (HK) in Hong Kong said: "With this week's 3% domestic fuel price hike, [Q4] profit should also grow sequentially from [Q3], especially with rebounding crude prices and higher sales volume during the Guangzhou [Asian] Games and [the onset of] winter.
BELGIUM'S SOLVAY POSTS 90% DROP IN Q3 NET INCOME
Belgium's Solvay posted a 90% drop in its third-quarter (Q3) net income to €18m ($25m) from €173m year on year as it was negatively affected by non-cash impairments on industrial assets. "These impairments involve almost exclusively the soda ash activity in Europe confronted with the ongoing weakness in some of its markets, especially flat glass used by construction," Solvay said. Sales for the quarter dropped by 24% to €1.70bn.
KEMIRA Q3 NET PROFIT DROPS 12%, SALES RISE
Kemira's third-quarter (Q3) net profit dropped by 12% year on year to €35.8m ($49.0m), mainly due to the separation of its paints business, Tikkurila, but sales and operating profits rose as demand increased, the Finnish chemical company said last week. The company said net profit during Q3 last year included figures related to its Tikkurila business, which was spun off from Kemira in March. Sales rose by 14% year on year to €554.4m during the June-September quarter, while operating profit was 18% higher at €46m.
CANADA'S METHANEX SWINGS TO $32.8M PROFIT
Methanex reported a third-quarter (Q3) net income of $32.8m, (€23.6m), reversing a net loss of $800,000 in the same period last year, amid strong demand for methanol, the Canada-based producer said last week. The figure included an after-tax gain of $22.2m related to the sale of its terminal facilities in Kitimat, Canada. Operating income in the Q3 jumped to $45.9m from just $3.1m in the same period a year earlier, as revenues soared by 52% to $481m. Sales volumes were up by 9.9% year on year to 1.78m, which was also 5.3% higher than the second quarter levels. "The methanol pricing environment was relatively stable in [Q3] and we reported similar earnings compared to last quarter," said the firm's president and CEO, Bruce Aitken.
CHINA'S BERUN BEGINS WORK ON COAL-BASED MEG
China's Berun Group began construction of the first phase of its new 200,000 tonne/year coal-based monoethylene glycol (MEG) project in mid-October. The Inner Mongolia-based project, which will require a total investment of around yuan (CNY) 2.3bn ($346m), will be built in two phases. In the first phase, the company would build a 100,000 tonne/year plant and test run it by September 2012.
CHINA'S HUBEI BIOCAUSE TO BUILD CRUDE C4 TO C3
China's Hubei Biocause Pharmaceutical plans to invest yuan (CNY) 302m ($45.4m) to build a 200,000 tonne/year olefins conversion unit (OCU) to produce propylene in Jingmen, central Hubei province. The OCU will use the process of catalytic cracking of crude C4 to produce propylene.
FMC Q3 PROFITS RISE NEARLY THREE-FOLD
US-based soda ash producer FMC's third-quarter (Q3) net profit rose nearly three-fold to $82.9m (€59.7m) compared with $28.0m earned in the same quarter last year on the strength of its sales. Q3 revenue rose by 8% to $772.5m. Revenue from FMC's industrial chemicals segment, which included soda ash, increased by 3% to $262.4m compared with the same quarter last year on stronger export markets. Segment earnings of $30m increased by 45% relative to the year-ago quarter, as a result of the volume gains, lower raw material and energy costs and lower plant outage costs.
US AIR PRODUCTS EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR AIRGAS BID
US industrial gases producer Air Products has extended the expiration date on its $5.5bn (€4.0bn) takeover bid for compatriot packaged gas firm Airgas to 3 December from 29 October. The company said that except for the expiration date, all other terms of its $65.50/share offer remained the same. Airgas said last week that its board was willing to authorize talks on the unsolicited proposal if the offer price was raised to more than $70/share. However, Air Products said its view of Airgas's value remained the same and called on the Airgas board to either negotiate with Air Products or allow shareholders to decide.
TREVIRA RESUMES TALKS WITH POTENTIAL BUYERS
German polyester fiber producer Trevira has resumed talks with investors to buy the company and expects to reach an agreement by the end of the year. "Meetings have so far been very promising," said CEO Uwe Wohner, adding that Trevira was seeing an "unexpectedly high level of interest" from strategic and financial investors.
PPG INDUSTRIES Q3 NET INCOME RISES 65%
PPG Industries has reported a 65% increase in third-quarter (Q3) net income to $262m (€189m) from $159m in Q3 2009, as sales rose by 7% to $3.5bn, said the US-based chemicals, paint, coatings and materials firm. All of the company's core segments, apart from architectural coatings, saw year-on-year improvements in Q3 profits and sales. Overall, PPG's sales volumes grew by 6% from Q3 2009, even with the decline in architectural coatings, it said.
W.R. GRACE Q3 NET PROFIT UP 23.6% TO $54.9M
W.R. Grace's third-quarter (Q3)net profit rose by 23.6% year on year to $54.9m (€39.5m) on lower costs and stronger emerging market performance, despite weaker overall sales, said the US specialty and construction chemicals maker. Q3 sales were down by 9.5% at $682.1m on lower volumes, although the same period a year ago included sales of $72.4m from a divested business.
CHANDRA ASRI, TRI POLYTA MERGER ON TRACK
Indonesian business regulators have approved the merger between Chandra Asri and Tri Polyta Indonesia, which is on track for completion by January 1, 2011. "The deal could be completed as early as December, but we are looking at January 1  as a more realistic target," a source from one of the companies said. The proposed merger would create a new $1.5bn (€1.08bn) company to be called Chandra Asri Petrochemical.
TAIWAN'S LCY SHUTS MIBK PLANT FOR MAINTENANCE
Taiwan's LCY Chemical shut its methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) plant in Kaohsiung for a turnaround on October 22. "The plant is likely to restart around November 8," said a company source.
FERRO REPORTS NET LOSS ON ONE-TIME CHARGES
US specialty chemicals producer Ferro reported a third-quarter (Q3) net loss of $2.36m (€1.68m), compared with a net income of $2.85m for the same time last year, with $42.7m in one-time charges more than offsetting an increase in gross profit. Q3 gross profit was $120.3m (€85.4m), up by 29% from $93.2m reported for the same time last year.
OLIN Q3 CHLOR-ALKALI PROFIT SHOOTS TO $44M
Olin's third-quarter (Q3) chlor-alkali earnings soared to $44.0m (€31.2m) from $3.9m in the same period a year ago amid higher sales and improved pricing, the US producer said. Chlor-alkali sales increased by 20.3% to $275.3m. Volumes for chlorine and caustic soda increased by 7% compared with Q3 2009. The company's Q3 operating rate for chlor-alkali was 91% - Olin's highest operating rate since Q3 2007.
CABOT TO CLOSE ITALY MASTERBATCH FACILITY
Cabot plans to close a masterbatch facility in Grigno, Italy, effective February 28, 2011. "The decision was made as a result of a broad-reaching analysis aimed to align the company's manufacturing capabilities with the business strategy and market growth opportunities," said the US-based specialty chemical producer.
MOMENTIVE BUILDS LSR FACILITY IN GERMANY
Momentive Performance Materials has started building a new liquid silicone rubber (LSR) manufacturing facility at Leverkusen, Germany, to meet growing global demand, the US-based chemical company said. The first phase of the project will be completed by the end of 2010. "Providing customers around the world with high-quality LSR is vital to our elastomer business," said Robert Gnann, Momentive's senior vice president and managing director of silicones in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.
EASTMAN TO SELL PET TO DAK AMERICAS FOR $600M
US-based Eastman Chemical has agreed to sell its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) business to DAK Americas for $600m (€426m). The acquisition includes three integrated petrochemical plants in South Carolina with capacity totaling 1.28m tonnes/year, said Mexican conglomerate ALFA, the parent company of DAK Americas. Two of the plants produce PET, while the other makes purified terephthalic acid (PTA), a raw material for polyester. Through the first six months of 2010, the plants generated sales of $405m, said ALFA.
A. SCHULMAN MORE THAN DOUBLES Q4 NET INCOME
A. Schulman more than doubled its fiscal fourth-quarter (Q4) net income to $11.7m (€8.3m) year on year as it strengthened its position in key global markets, the US compounder said. Net sales for the period were up by 49% year on year to $476.2m, with sales volumes increasing by 60%.
EU CHEMS NEW ORDERS GROW BY 1.6% IN AUGUST
EU chemical new orders grew by 1.6% in August this year compared with July, statistical office Eurostat said. Chemical orders in August in the 16-member eurozone were up even higher at 2.5% compared with the previous month. Year on year, new chemical orders across the 27 EU member states in August continued to show an upward trend, with a rise of 20.5%, while new orders in the eurozone increased by 24.3% from August 2009.
CHINA SLAPS PROVISIONAL DUTIES ON METHANOL
China has imposed provisional antidumping duties on methanol imports from New Zealand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Effective October 28, preliminary duties of 9.4% will apply on methanol originating from Indonesia's PT Kaltim Methanol Industri, 9.3% on material from Malaysia's Petronas Methanol Labuan and 9.5% on imports from Methanex New Zealand. They will be in place until December 24, 2010.
AKZONOBEL POWDER COATS PLANT IN CHINA STARTS UP
AkzoNobel has started up a new 4,000 tonne/year powder coating plant in Wuhan, central China, making it the company's sixth such facility in the country. The new factory, located in the Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone, will manufacture AkzoNobel Powder Coatings' flagship Interpon range of products.
SUMITOMO CHEM SHUTS EHIME ADA UNIT
Japan's Sumitomo Chemical shut its 5,000 tonne/year adipic acid (ADA) plant in Ehime prefecture last month as planned and intends to bring it on stream by the end of this month.
US GULF-ASIA CHEM FREIGHT RATES SOAR
Chemical tanker freight rates on the US Gulf to Asia route soared by up to $15/tonne (€10.80/tonne) during the past week on advantageous US benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) prices. US prices on toluene and xylene are now cheaper than Asian rates, while benzene is slightly higher, resulting in the US-favored BTX arbitrage. Rates for 5,000 tonne or larger cargoes rose by $15/tonne to $55-60/tonne.
PETROLOGISTICS STARTS C3 PLANT IN HOUSTON
Petrologistics has launched production at its propylene plant in Texas. The unit is expected to run at capacity within 30 days. The 544,000 tonne/year plant in Houston will produce chemical grade propylene (CGP) and polymer-grade propylene (PGP) via propane dehydrogenation, and is the only facility of its kind in the US.
MITSUI OSK TO SHIP BULK POLYMER IN THREE YEARS
A project for bulk polymer shipping being developed by Mitsui OSK Lines and other companies is scheduled to start up in three years, with the initial hubs expected to be operational by 2014. The bulk polymer shipping system will comprise a series of terminals worldwide for loading, discharging and distributing polymers in bulk. The initial hubs will be located in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, Antwerp and the US east coast.
GERMANY'S CONFIDENCE CONTINUES TO RISE
German business confidence continued to improve in October, a sign that the slowdown in second-half growth in Europe's largest economy may be less marked than many analysts had feared. Munich-based economics research institute Ifo's business climate index for Germany rose from 106.8 points in September to 107.6 in October - its highest level for more than three years. The widely-followed Ifo index is based on a monthly survey of about 7,000 firms in the manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail sectors.
EU INCREASES EMISSION ALLOWANCES LIMIT
The European Commission has pushed up its limit on the number of emission allowances that will be available under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in 2013. The cap for 2013, the first year of the 2013-2020 trading period, has now been set at 2.039bn allowances. Each allowance represents the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) or the equivalent amount of other greenhouse gases.
HONEYWELL Q3 CHEM PROFIT RISES 25% TO $194M
Diversified US-based industrial group Honeywell reported a 25% third-quarter (Q3) profit increase in its specialty materials and chemicals segment, to $194m (€140m) from $155m in Q3 2009, largely as a result of higher sales volumes. Sales in the segment rose by 16% to $1.175bn for the three months ended September 30.
CIECH AND LAFARGE START 'GREEN CEMENT' PLANT
Polish chemical group Ciech and French construction materials giant Lafarge have started production at a 'green cement' plant that recycles high-carbon industrial fly ash from a sodium carbonate plant into base material for cement. The joint venture in Inowroclaw, central Poland, also converts low-carbon fly ash from the sodium carbonate production into fuel for generating heat, thus cutting coal costs for Ciech subsidiary Soda Polska Ciech.
RUSSIA'S PLASTICS PRODUCTION UP 10%
Russia's January to September plastics production was up by 10% year on year to reach 3.625m tonnes, according to the Russian statistical agency Rosstat. Russia's total polyethylene (PE) output reached 1.191m tonnes, a rise of 13% year on year, while polypropylene (PP) production was 13% down at 485,000 tonnes. Total polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production was up 6% to 449,000 tonnes, while polystyrene (PS) output increased 14% to stand at 228,000 tonnes.
GERMANY'S EVONIK TO RAISE ASIA, EUROPE SILICA
German chemicals producer Evonik Industries is planning to increase its silica (precipitated silicic acids) production capacity in Asia and Europe by 25% over the next four years. The company said the investment would be in the mid-double-digit million euro range.
JUDGE THROWS OUT OBJECTION TO CHEMTURA
A judge threw out a major objection to US-based Chemtura's reorganization plan. The judge said he would approve the plan if the company agreed to certain changes. Holding up a decision were objections from a group representing shareholders who were dissatisfied with the value that the plan placed on Chemtura - $1.9bn-2.2bn (€1.4bn-1.6bn).
CYTEC Q3 NET EARNINGS TRIPLE ON STRONGER SALES
Cytec Industries' third-quarter )(Q3) net earnings tripled to $37.7m (€27.1m) from $12.5m in Q3 2009 on stronger performance from engineered and building block chemicals. Cytec reported overall Q3 sales of $837m, compared with $740m in the same quarter last year. Q3 sales of building block chemicals rose 39% to $137m.
AKER SOLUTIONS Q3 PROFIT FALLS ON WEAKER SALES
Norway-based Aker Solutions said its third-quarter (Q3) net profit declined by 33.6% year on year to Norwegian kroner (NKr) 330m ($56.41m, €40.54m) as revenues slipped by 2.3%. Revenues were down to NKr12.28bn in the September quarter, from NKr12.57bn.
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
Sample issue >>
My Account/Renew >>
Register for online access >>
|ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies|
|Download the listing here >>|