This week in brief

21 September 2012 11:05  [Source: ICB]

EUROPE

FRANCE'S ARKEMA AIMS FOR €10BN SALES IN 2020
Arkema hopes to generate €10bn ($13bn) sales in 2020 and an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of close to 17% in the same year, the French chemicals firm said. The company released a statement in which it reiterated its financial targets for 2016 - sales at €8bn and an EBITDA margin of 16%. For the current year, the company has confirmed its expectations to achieve an EBITDA of close to €1bn.

FATIGUE FORCES AKZONOBEL CEO INTO TEMPORARY LEAVE
AkzoNobel CEO Ton Buchner is taking a temporary leave of absence because of a medical condition, the company said. Buchner has been diagnosed with temporary fatigue, and his recovery is expected to allow him to return to work in the first half of October. The Netherlands-headquartered coatings and specialty chemicals group said CFO Keith Nichols would lead the company until Buchner's return.

EUROPEAN CHEM EXECS KEEN ON M&A - SURVEY
European chemical companies will use cash on their balance sheets to pursue strategic acquisitions, as well as new product development, business advisors KPMG said. Around a third of a European chemical sector executive survey sample (32%) indicated that they are actively seeking acquisitions. In the survey, 68% of the European chemical company executives who responded indicated that their companies have significant cash on the balance sheet, and more than 40% said their cash positions have improved since last year.

LANXESS SETS NEW TARGET FOR MID-TERM EARNINGS
LANXESS has set itself a new mid-term earnings target as it is on track to achieve its previous target a year earlier than expected, the Germany-based chemicals firm said. LANXESS said that its new mid-term target is €1.8bn ($2.3bn)/year of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), before exceptional items, by 2018. The company added that it is on track to achieve its earlier target of €1.4bn EBITDA, before exceptional items, already by 2014 - a year earlier than previously expected.

FINLAND'S KEMIRA REVIEWS 14 MANUFACTURING SITES
Kemira has put 14 of its manufacturing sites under review as part of a consolidation and savings plan, the CEO of the Finland-based chemicals firm said. Kemira expects that consolidation of its manufacturing network and operations will contribute about half of the €60m ($79m) in annual cost savings it announced in July, CEO Wolfgang Buchele said in an update. He did not identify which sites are being reviewed.

EU CHEM TRADE SURPLUS UP ON EXPORT, IMPORT RISE
The EU's chemical products trade surplus for January to June increased by 13% from the same period in 2011, with imports and exports both higher, EU statistics body Eurostat said. Its figures showed that the trade surplus for chemicals in the EU rose to €60.6bn ($79.7bn) in the first six months of 2012, up from €53.7bn in the same period last year. Exports rose by 7% year on year to €154.9bn, and imports increased by 3% to €94.2bn The chemicals trade surplus in the eurozone in the January-June period was €55.6bn, up by 16% from €48.0bn during the same period in 2011. Eurozone chemicals exports grew by 9% to €137.0bn and imports by 5% to €81.4bn.

AMERICAS

DOW PICKS FLUOR FOR TEXAS PROPYLENE PROJECT
Fluor has won another contract from Dow Chemical for work on a propylene project in Freeport, Texas, the US-based petrochemicals engineering firm said. Fluor said that the contract is for the project's engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services. Fluor already completed the project's front-end engineering and design (FEED), it said. Dow's propylene project in Freeport is under way, with estimated mechanical completion expected by 2015, Fluor said. It did not comment on the capacities.

BRAZIL'S BRASKEM STILL STUDYING COMPERJ PLANS
Brazil's Braskem said it was still studying proposed petrochemical projects at the Comperj site, following news reports that cast doubt on the future of such projects. "Braskem clarifies that there wasn't any change regarding Comperj and the leadership of Braskem on the petrochemical part of the project," the company said in a statement. Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo earlier reported that the Complexo Petroquimico do Rio de Janeiro (Comperj) could wind up only as a refinery.

HOUSE BUILDS RISE 2.3% IN AUG BUT PERMITS DOWN 1%
US new home construction activity rose by 2.3% in August, reversing a 1.1% decline in July, the Commerce Department said, but the number of building permits fell last month, suggesting a rocky road ahead for the housing recovery. In its monthly report, the department said that housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000 units, a 2.3% improvement from the downwardly revised July figure of 733,000.

MARATHON INTERESTED IN BP REFINERY - REPORTS
US refiner Marathon Petroleum is interested in buying BP's Texas City refinery, according to media reports. The deal could be worth up to $2.5bn, according to reports in the UK's Financial Times and other media. A spokesman for Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum did not immediately respond to a request for comment. BP has said that it plans to sell the Texas City refinery. The plant ranks as the US's third-largest refinery, with a processing capacity of 460,000 bbl/day.

10 DEAD IN FIRE AT NATURAL GAS FACILITY IN MEXICO
A fire at a Pemex natural gas facility in northern Mexico killed 10 people, the state-run energy company said. Local media reports said that around 40 people were injured. The fire started at 10.45 hours Mexico time (16.45 hours GMT) at a gas compression unit, near the city of Reynosa in the northern state of Tamaulipas, Pemex said. The company said the fire was extinguished nearly two hours later.

ASIA

TAIWAN'S FPCC SET TO CUT OPS AT NAPHTHA CRACKERS
Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC) is planning to cut operating rates at its Mailiao crackers from 1 October because of poor market conditions in the downstream polyethylene (PE) sector. "We may cut operating rates at the crackers from 1 October as the downstream PE market is weak," a company official said. The extent of the rate cuts has not been finalised yet. The company's plan to reduce operating rate at its crackers will affect their naphtha spot purchase.

INDIA SEEKS INVESTMENT FOR NAPHTHA CRACKERS
The Indian government is seeking private sector investors to help fund the construction of naphtha cracker units at several petrochemical enterprise zones across the country, an official at the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said. The department has drafted policy measures for investors in downstream sectors such as petrochemical distribution to also invest equity in crackers at the Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Regions (PCPIRs) currently under development.

SOLVAY'S INDIA SPECIALITY POLYMERS CAPACITY TO RISE
Belgium's Solvay is planning a 70% increase in capacity at its high performance polymers plant at Panoli, India. Nearly half of this capacity increase has already been implemented and successfully brought on line while the second phase of the project will be completed by mid-2013. Solvay said its Panoli plant produces ultra-high performance chemicals polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and polyaryletherketone (PAEK).

NEW DELHI BAN ON PLASTIC BAGS TO HIT PE DEMAND
Demand for polyethylene (PE) resins in New Delhi may be dampened by a ban on plastics bags announced in the Indian capital on 11 September, industry players said. The New Delhi government has imposed a blanket ban on the manufacture, storage and usage of plastic bags in the capital, regardless of thickness. A prohibition on usage of plastic bags that are not 40 microns thick already applied to most of India, prior to the New Delhi announcement.

DAICEL OTAKE ETAC PLANT TO SHUT IN OCT FOR OVERHAUL
Japan's Daicel Chemical Industries plans to shut its 75,000 tonne/year ethyl acetate (etac) plant at Otake in Hiroshima prefecture in early October for annual maintenance, a company official said. The plant is scheduled to resume etac output at the beginning of November, following the completion of the scheduled overhaul. The company is currently operating the plant at full capacity in order to build up inventories and ensure stable supply to domestic customers during the month-long maintenance, the official added.

CHINA'S QILU PETROCHEMICAL TO SHUT BR PLANT ON 20 SEPTEMBER
China's Sinopec subsidiary Qilu Petrochemical is planning to shut its 70,000 tonne/year butadiene rubber (BR) plant at Zibo in eastern China on 20 September for a 20-day turnaround. The plant is currently running at full capacity, a company source said. The producer is running its 250,000 tonne/year styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) unit at the same site in Zibo at full capacity, the source added.


Author: x x



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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.

Printer Friendly