New hydrofluoroolefin patents to boost US Honeywell chem business

17 April 2014 17:37 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Honeywell has new hydrofluoroolefin patents coming in that should improve the performance of its fluorine business, the company's CEO said on Thursday.

Honeywell's fluorine business is largely driven by patents, said David Cote, CEO. He made his comments during an earnings conference call.

Some of Honeywell's patents have expired, which has caused pricing for those affected products to suffer, Cote said.

However, the company has new hydrofluoroolefin patents coming in, he said. "As a result of that, we're going to see some really nice performance out of the fluorines business over the next few years."

Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) are often used as refrigerants. Honeywell is spending $300m to increase capacity of one HFO, HFO-1234yf, an automobile refrigerant which has a much lower global-warming potential than the refrigerant currently in use.

Fluorines fall under Honeywell's advanced materials business, which also produces nylon 6, phenol, acetone, hydrofluoric acid and fluorochemicals.

Q1 sales for advanced materials fell 4% because of weaker pricing and higher costs for raw materials, said Tom Szlosek, chief financial officer. Volumes did increase for most of the business's products despite the quarter's bad weather.

For the second quarter, sales for advanced materials should rise in the low to middle single-digits, Szlosek said.

Cote said that regardless of the business's performance, it is still a core part of Honeywell.

The company is the world's lowest-cost producer for its resins and chemicals, Cote said. "That includes being able to land product in China cheaper than the Chinese can manufacture it domestically, so we have an advantage there."

Advanced materials makes up Honeywell's performance materials and technologies segment, along with UOP, which provides process technology and produces catalysts.

Additional reporting by Tom Brown
By Al Greenwood