Titanium dioxide (TiO2)

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TiO2 is used in the manufacture of countless industrial and consumer products, from paint and coatings and plastics to furniture, packaging and personal care products. Worldwide production and trade in TIO2 means that there are multiple markets to keep track of. As production levels and downstream demand fluctuates, prices change and opportunities for profit come and go. Reacting quickly is vital to protect and maximise profits.

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Titanium dioxide (TiO2) news

US Tronox’s Q1 earnings higher than expected as TiO2, zircon sales shoot up

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–US paints and coatings producer Tronox’s shares were up strongly on Monday after the company said its earnings in the first quarter had come between 9-31% higher than the analysts’ consensus. Tronox earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) stood at $131 million in Q1. Analyst consensus expected that figure to be between $100-120 million. Tronox’s shares were up 5.87% in Monday afternoon’s trading at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), compared with the last close on 19 April. EBITDA posted strong growth compared with the fourth quarter, although it fell year on year. EBITDA is the preferred metric to measure a company’s financial health as it strips out external factors out of the company’s control. Sales rose in all metrics for titanium dioxide (TiO2) and zircon, a mineral that increases resistance on glass and metal. In February, the company already gave a hint its performance was proving better than expected when it raised operating rates for TiO2, with the company confident at the time that pricing for that material had bottomed out and should start improving after Q1. These are Tronox’s key products – TiO2 sales rose in Q1 by 8% year on year, and by 17% quarter on quarter. Zircon posted even better metrics, although its weight within Tronox’s portfolio is much lower than TiO2’s. In Q1, zircon sales rose by 22% year on year, and by 54% quarter on quarter. Tronox (in $/million) Q1 2024 Q1 2023 Change Q4 2023 Change Q4 2023 vs Q1 2024 Revenue 774 708 9% 686 13% EBITDA 131 146 -10% 94 39% EBITDA margin 16.9% 20.6% -3.70% 13.7% 3.2% Net income/loss -9 25 N/A -56 N/A TIO2, ZIRCON AND OUTLOOK“Costs continued to trend favorably as a result of improved absorption from higher production volumes and the absence of non-repeating charges in prior quarters,” said Tronox’s CEO, John D Romano. The company added its priorities for the rest of 2024 would be prioritizing investments which “are critical to furthering our strategy” as well as bolstering its liquidity on the back of what it expects will be market recovery. The Stamford, state of Connecticut-headquartered producer added it will also aim to resume debt payments as well as “evaluate strategic high-growth” opportunities for potential acquisitions but fell short of disclosing more details. STOCK JUMP EXPECTED “Management attributed the guidance raise [to Q1 financials] to demand outpacing expectations for both TiO2 and zircon,” said analysts at Alembic Chemical Advisors. “Management also stated that in line with their year-end earnings call guidance, their costs continue to trend favorably as a result of improved absorption from higher production volume and the absence of non-repeating charges in prior quarters.” Analysts at Alembic Chemical did forecast Monday’s sharp price increase, adding it would return to more normal trading patterns after the excitement subsided. The chemical equity analysts at Alembic recommended selling Tronox’s stock to cash in gains while the rises on the positive Q1 preliminary results sentiment lasted.

22-Apr-2024

Green shoots spring in eastern Europe, strong interest in PPG’s architectural division – CEO

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Amid Europe’s industrial crisis, green shots have started to appear in eastern countries, giving hopes the downturn in the region has bottomed out, the CEO at US paints and coatings major PPG said on Friday. Tim Knavish added after PPG announced it was seeking to divest its US and Canada architectural operations, it has recorded more interest from potential buyers than expected, but “no numbers have hit our desk yet". Late on Thursday, PPG said its sales fell in the first quarter as European demand continued to be in the doldrums, but its earnings surged as input costs had fallen considerably. The company expects an overall improvement in industrial production globally in the second half of 2024. “We just have to get through the second quarter,” the CEO said, speaking to reporters and chemical equity analysts on Friday. As a paints and coatings producer, PPG's operations are petrochemicals-intensive. Among many others, one of its key raw materials is titanium dioxide (TiO2). COMING OUT OF THE DOWNTURNWhile Europe’s industrial downturn has been the steepest as the region took the largest hit from sharply higher natural gas prices after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US performance has been lacklustre. Amid overall economic growth, manufacturing has been the sick man of the mix for many months. That may have started to turn in March, with official and private bodies’ statistics showing growth in US manufacturing at last, and manufacturers optimistic for the months ahead. “We expect our sales volumes to continue recovering for the remainder of 2024…. We are only 19 days into the month, that’s only a sixth of the second quarter, but we are comfortable with the order book and shipments so far this quarter,” said Knavish. “We have been speaking to our key end-users in the past weeks and they are all saying the same thing about Q1 and Q2, but we are all expecting a return to more normal growth rates in H2 – we just have to get through Q2.” In Europe, however, some key markets such as France and the Nordics have yet to start any meaningful recovery, with sales there slower than the company was expecting, the CEO said. Despite this, in the eastern economies – with more emerging markets characteristics than the European western economies – there has been a notable improvement. “We are seeing green shoots in the east, where we have a strong position, so that gives optimism. We are also seeing that the deco [decorating] segment in those hard-hit countries [in Europe] is also bouncing back from the bottom, so we don’t expect it to get worse,” said Knavish. “The recoveries in the east, they are not the largest individually but when you add them together, they are an important part of our portfolio, countries such as Poland, Romania, Hungary or Czechia: we do see some green shots there.” However, he added that they were not “naive enough” to believe there will be a V shape recovery in Europe. ARCHITECTURAL DIVESTMENTAt the end of February, PPG announced it was seeking alternatives for its US and Canada architectural coatings business, which has been a drag on profits and sales volumes. The company said at the time it would study whether the division could be divested, be set as a standalone entity, or be part of a joint venture. The CEO did not give much away on Friday, saying it was early on, but the company was positively surprised with the level of interest, adding there had been “minimal if any” disruption to the daily operations of the division since the announcement. “There is a lot of chatter [about this]. But we are engaging key customers, employees, and engaging our owners. We expected strong interest, because of the strength of the brands and assets … The interest has been even higher than what we expected. We feel good right now,” said Knavish. “Until the numbers start coming in, and we can look at what is best for shareholder value creation, it is difficult to say [what the likely outcome will be]. We’ll have a much better view in another quarter or so.” INDIA TAKING OFFKnavish ended with an interesting reflection about India. Indians are about to start what is famously the largest democratic process in the world, which will end in June. Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi is widely expected to win a resounding third term in the general election, despite many analysts warning about increasing tensions between Hindus and Muslims, who are India’s largest minority, with 175 million people. But the key to Modi’s expected victory may well be all about the economy. “I have been going to India for 25 years. There has always been the talk of higher civil engineering works, higher industrial production [but it never seemed to come to fruition],” said the CEO. “Now, all that is happening, and the development is very noticeable for someone who has been going there regularly.” Front page picture: PPG's headquarters in Pittsburgh, in the US state of Pennsylvania Source: PPG Additional reporting by Deniz Koray

19-Apr-2024

Chemours has no executive ‘attrition problem’ – CEO

HOUSTON (ICIS)–“We do not have an attrition problem,” the new CEO of Chemours, Denise Dignam, said during the company’s Q4 2023 earnings call on Thursday. An analyst on the call asked about the company's unusually high number of senior executive changes and departures. Chemours has business leaders at many levels, with “deep experience”, and succession planning allowed it to quickly backfill key roles internally, Dignam responded. “I know it’s hard for you to see this, but there is great stability in the organization,” she said. Also, while Chemours does not want turbulence, “I do believe change is good”, she said. “We have fundamentally changed how we operate at the top of this organization. We are now business-led, rather than corporate-led,” she said. Dignam last month took over from Mark Newman, who was suspended – along with CFO Jonathan Lock and controller Camela Wisel – as the board started an investigation and review of financial reporting practices and internal controls. Previous executive changes and departures include: Lock became CFO in mid-2023, succeeding Sameer Ralhan, who left. Ed Sparks resigned as the president of Titanium Technologies and Chemical Solutions in March 2023. Also in March 2023, Sheryl Telford resigned as the company's chief sustainability officer. At the end of May 2023, Alisha Bellezza resigned as president, Thermal & Specialized Solutions (TSS), the business segment that makes fluorochemicals. Susan Kelliher, senior vice president, people, resigned at the end of September 2023. INTERNAL CONTROLS Mark Abbott, who currently serves as interim CFO, said on Thursday that Chemours’ review of internal controls identified “four material weaknesses” as of 31 December 2023. Although the weaknesses did not result in any material misstatements of financial statements or disclosures, they did result in immaterial revisions to certain prior-period financial statements, he said. Chemours is still in the process of implementing enhancements to its internal controls, he added. “These actions will take time to implement, but we are already moving forward. We are fully committed to actions that not only address the weaknesses, but also strengthen our control environment going forward,” he said. The investigation and review is expected to cost about $30 million. Additional reporting by Al Greenwood Thumbnail photo of Chemours' CEO Denise Dignam; photo source: Chemours

28-Mar-2024

Dow, ExxonMobil among chems picked in US $6 billion CO2 cutting program

HOUSTON (ICIS)–A $6 billion industrial decarbonization program by the US will fund many chemical projects being developed by Dow, ExxonMobil and other companies, featuring projects as diverse as using carbon dioxide (CO2) as a feedstock, recycling plastic and burning hydrogen as a fuel, the Department of Energy (DOE) said on Monday. The following describes the seven chemical projects chosen by the US. ExxonMobil is developing the Baytown Olefins Plant Carbon Reduction Project in Texas. The project will use new burner technologies to combust hydrogen instead of natural gas for ethylene production. The project should cut more 2.5 million tonnes/year of carbon emissions, or more than 50% of the cracker's total emissions. The project will receive up to $331.9 million from the government. A subsidiary of Orsted plans to build a 300,000 tonne/year e-methanol plant on the Gulf Coast in Texas. The subsidiary, Orsted P2X US Holding, expects the e-methanol will be used as fuel for marine shipping and transportation. E-methanol is made with CO2 with green hydrogen. Orsted is already developing such a project in Sweden. The Texas project will receive up to $100 million from the government. BASF plans to develop a project in Freeport, Texas, that will convert liquid byproducts into synthesis gas (syngas) using plasma gasification and renewable power. Syngas is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO). BASF will use the syngas as feedstock for its operations in Freeport. The project will receive up to $75 million from the government. LanzaTech and T.EN Stone & Webster Process Technology plan to develop a project on the US Gulf Coast that will capture CO2 emissions from crackers. It will then use green hydrogen and a biotech-based process to convert the captured CO2 into ethanol and ethylene. LanzaTech has developed strains of bacteria that ferment CO2 using hydrogen as an energy source. The name of the project is Sustainable Ethylene from CO2 Utilization with Renewable Energy (SECURE), and it will receive up to $200 million from the government. Ashland's subsidiary, ISP Chemicals, plans to replace natural gas boilers with electric heat delivered by a thermal battery at its plant in Calvert City, Kentucky. Other partners in the project include the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Electrified Thermal Solutions (ETS), which is supplying its Joule Hive system. The project will receive up to $35.2 million from the government. Dow's project will be developed on the US Gulf Coast and it will capture up to 100,000 tonnes/year of CO2 from ethylene oxide (EO) production. The project will then use the CO2 to produce chemicals used in electrolyte solutions to make domestic lithium-ion batteries. The project will receive up to $95 million from the government. Eastman is building a chemical recycling plant in Longview, Texas, that will use its methanolysis technology to break down waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and monoethylene glycol (MEG). The plant plans to use thermal energy storage combined with on-site solar power to reduce the carbon intensity of its process heating operations. It will receive up to $375 million from the government. DETAILS ABOUT THE US PROGRAMThe US expects the program will cut more than 14 million tonnes/year of emissions of CO2 from 33 projects. On average, each of the projects will cut carbon emissions by 77%. Out of the $6 billion, $489 million will come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and $5.47 billion will come from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The fund will target the following: Seven chemical and refining projects. Six cement and concrete projects. Six iron and steel projects. Five aluminium and metals projects. Three food and beverage projects. Three glass projects. Two process heat-focused projects. One pulp and paper project.

25-Mar-2024

AFPM '24: INSIGHT: New US auto emission rule to boost plastic demand, squeeze refiners

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The new greenhouse gas restrictions that the US imposed on automobiles will speed up the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), which will have several knock-on effects on plastics, lubricants and chemicals produced by refineries. Under the new greenhouse gas standards, EVs and plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) will make up a growing share of the nation's light automobile fleet at the expense of internal combustion engines (ICEs). EVs and PHEVs consume larger amounts of plastics on a per-capita basis than autos powered by ICEs. If the prevalence of ICE-powered vehicles declines as forecast by the US, then that would lower demand for fuel, discouraging refiners from expanding or making expensive investments on their units. That could lower production of aromatics and other refined products. DETAILS OF NEW EPA TAILPIPE RULEThe new rule requires the US light vehicle fleet to emit progressively smaller amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), as shown in the following table. Figures are listed in grams of CO2 emitted per mile driven. 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 Cars 131 139 125 112 99 86 73 Trucks 184 184 165 146 128 109 90 Total Fleet 168 170 153 136 119 102 85 Source: EPA The US will have to greatly increase its reliance on EVs to meet such standards, according to the EPA. The regulator forecasts what its new rule will entail for the makeup of the US light vehicle fleet. It presented three scenarios that make different assumptions about the share of EVs, PHEVs, hybrids and autos powered by ICEs. Hybrid vehicles rely predominantly on ICEs, while PHEVs rely predominantly on batteries, which is why they need to be plugged in to recharge. The following charts show the three scenarios. Scenario A 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 ICE 64% 58% 49% 43% 35% 29% Hybrid 4% 5% 5% 4% 3% 3% PHEV 6% 6% 8% 9% 11% 13% EV 26% 31% 39% 44% 51% 56% Source: EPA Scenario B 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 ICE 62% 56% 49% 39% 28% 21% Hybrid 4% 4% 3% 6% 7% 6% PHEV 10% 12% 15% 18% 24% 29% EV 24% 29% 33% 37% 41% 43% Source: EPA Scenario C 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 ICE 61% 41% 35% 27% 19% 17% Hybrid 4% 15% 13% 16% 15% 13% PHEV 10% 17% 22% 27% 32% 36% EV 24% 26% 30% 31% 34% 35% Source: EPA IMPACT ON PLASTICSEVs and hybrids typically consume more plastics than ICEs, according to Kevin Swift, ICIS senior economist for global chemicals. Swift compared two automobile models that their manufacturers offered in ICE, hybrid and EV versions. The following chart shows how plastics consumption fared across the three versions. Not only do EVs tend to consume more plastics, they impose different challenges on the materials. Because EVs need to be recharged, their systems are running even when the vehicles are stationary. Materials must have the durability to maintain their properties after several thousands of additional hours of use. The wires and cables within EVs generate heat through electrical resistance, so materials need to manage heat. Materials used in battery packs and the charging equipment need to have flame retardancy to prevent thermal runaway. Some materials must withstand high voltages from fast charging times, while others need to shield sensors and other electrical components from electro-magnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). As EV production grows, demand for these materials will increase. IMPACT ON BASE OILSIf the EPA's forecasts come true, then demand for base oils used in engine lubricants will decline. EVs lack ICEs so they do not use motor oil. However, EVs still have moving parts so they will require greases and lubricants. A more lucrative opportunity may lie in thermal management fluids. Petroleum-based thermal management fluids avoid the problems that come with using water-based cooling fluids like glycols in electric vehicles. In time, EVs could manage heat by relying on direct immersion cooling. Here the battery, the inverter and the motor are submerged in a bath of thermal management fluids. The base stocks that would be used in thermal management fluids will be a combination of polyalphaolefins (PAOs), esters and polyaklylene glycols (PAGS). IMPACT ON AROMATICSA faster adoption of EVs could speed up the arrival of peak oil demand. Figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that gasoline demand in the country peaked in 2018. That peak was barely higher than the previous record set in 2007. Refiners are not going to add new capacity or make expensive investments if demand for their primary products have stagnated. As their units age or suffer damage from fires and other accidents, refiners could choose to shut operations or convert their complexes to produce renewable fuels or other sustainable products. The consequences would cause production to stagnate or even decline for benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTX), chemical building blocks that are primarily produced in refineries in the US. Downstream consumers of these chemicals will have to consider imports if they wish to maintain their operations. US COULD LAVISH MORE POLICIES ON EVSUS EVs could get more supportive policies in the months ahead. The EPA is expected to decide if California can adopt its Advanced Clean Car II (ACC II), which would phase out the sale of ICE-based vehicles to 2035. If the EPA grants California's request, that would trigger similar programs in several other states. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing stricter efficiency standards under its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) has raised concerns about the new EPA rule as well as the two pending policies that would provide further support for EVs at the expense of vehicles powered by ICEs. It raised more concerns on Thursday right before the group's International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), which begins on Sunday. “At a time when millions of Americans are struggling with high costs and inflation, the Biden administration has finalized a regulation that will unequivocally eliminate most new gas cars and traditional hybrids from the US market in less than a decade,” said Chet Thompson, AFPM CEO, said. “Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, Congress has to make a decision whether to protect consumer choice, US manufacturing workers and our hard-won energy security by overturning this deeply flawed regulation,” Thompson said. “Short of that, our organizations are certainly prepared to challenge it in court.” Insight article by Al Greenwood Thumbnail image shows an electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Takoma Park, Maryland. Photo by MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

21-Mar-2024

Americas top stories: weekly summary

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News from the week ended 8 March. Evonik sells superabsorbents business to ICIG to focus on specialties Germany’s Evonik has signed a deal to sell its superabsorbents business to International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG), a privately-held industrial group headquartered in Germany. ICIG will acquire the entire division with around 1,000 employees and superabsorbent production facilities in Krefeld and Rheinmuenster, Germany, as well as two locations in the US, in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Garyville, Louisiana. Indorama Ventures will divest, right-size assets and cut costs under revised strategy Fundamental long-term changes in global chemicals markets have prompted a significant review of strategy, Indorama Ventures said on Monday. Indorama eyes upstream plant shutdowns with 6 assets under review – Group CEO Indorama Ventures is reviewing six operating assets in the ‘West’ for potential shutdown as it seeks to boost competitiveness and exit the merchant market for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) feedstocks amid intensifying competition from China, its group CEO and Founder said. Brazil’s Unigel halts fertilizers production on high natural gas prices Unigel is to “temporarily stop” nitrogen fertilizers production because of high costs and low prices, effective on Wednesday, the Brazilian chemicals and fertilizers producer said. Chemours says suspended execs tried to influence cash flows An internal review showed that top executives at Chemours tried to influence the reporting of the company’s cash flows, the US-based titanium dioxide (TiO2) and fluoromaterials producer said in an update late on Wednesday. LOGISTICS: Panama Canal to add additional slots in Panamax Locks beginning 25 March The Panama Canal Authority (PCA) announced on Friday that it will open additional slots in the Panamax Locks beginning 25 March based on the present and projected water levels in Gatun Lake.

11-Mar-2024

Asia top stories – weekly summary

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 8 March 2024. Asia, Mideast petrochemical trades to slow down during Ramadan By Nurluqman Suratman 08-Mar-24 13:10 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Trades for several petrochemicals in Asia and the Middle East will slow down as markets observe Ramadan starting 10 March, with demand going into a lull amid shorter working hours during the Muslim fasting month. Asia naphtha sentiment improves; supplies to tighten By Li Peng Seng 08-Mar-24 12:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s naphtha intermonth spread rose to a one-month high on 7 March amid expectations of fewer arbitrage cargoes arriving in April from the west due to Europe’s demand for gasoline and petrochemicals. Lotte Chemical mulls 'strategic measures' for Malaysian-listed LC Titan By Nurluqman Suratman 07-Mar-24 13:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korean producer Lotte Chemical said on Thursday that it is exploring options for its Malaysian subsidiary, in response to local media reports that the unit is up for sale. Weak China demand to weigh on oil markets despite OPEC+ supply cut extension By Fanny Zhang 06-Mar-24 12:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s economic weakness will continue weigh on crude oil prices despite the decision by oil cartel OPEC and its allies (OPEC+) to prolong their production cuts to support the market. Asian spot TiO2 market set to enjoy support in March By Joson Ng 01-Mar-24 13:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The titanium dioxide (TiO2) Asian spot market is likely to see improving or stable demand in March, especially in China, as the traditional peak demand season kicks in. As producers in China are also citing a healthy number of orders on hand, they are not likely to allow cargoes to go unless the bids are close to their valuation. Asia polyester market at standstill amid firm costs, weak fundamentals By Judith Wang 05-Mar-24 14:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The polyester export market in Asia has fallen into a standstill amid a tug of war between firm cost pressure and weak market fundamentals. INSIGHT: China 2024 growth target will require stronger stimulus measures By Nurluqman Suratman 07-Mar-24 00:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China is likely to need to introduce stronger stimulus measures to meet its official growth target of around 5% for this year given the country's deep structural imbalances. Chemical, palms freight costs up as tanker supply tightens into March By Hwee Hwee Tan 07-Mar-24 18:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–A tanker supply crunch persisting into March has pushed up shipping costs for chemical and palms cargoes traded on Asia’s spot market.

11-Mar-2024

Chemours says suspended execs tried to influence cash flows

HOUSTON (ICIS)–An internal review showed that top executives at Chemours tried to influence the reporting of the company’s cash flows, the US-based titanium dioxide (TiO2) and fluoromaterials producer said in an update late on Wednesday. Chemours’ share price was up more than 7% on Thursday pre-market trading. Chemours on 29 February announced it placed CEO Mark Newman, CFO Jonathan Lock, and principal accounting officer Camela Wisel on administrative leave, pending completion of an internal review of practices for managing working capital. The review was triggered by an anonymous report made to the company’s ethics hotline. In its update, the company said that the review by the board's audit committee found that the executives “engaged in efforts” in the 2023 fourth quarter to delay payments to certain vendors and to accelerate the collection of receivables. The executives did this in part to meet free cash flow targets, which, in turn, was a key metric for determining their incentive compensation, the company said. The audit committee's review also found that the executives were engaged in similar actions, though to a lesser extent, in the 2022 fourth quarter. The findings of the internal review do not affect the preliminary, unaudited estimates of 2023 operating results Chemours disclosed on 29 February. The preliminary results were for 2023 full-year net sales of $6.0 billion, down from $6.8 billion in 2022, with the decline primarily due to lower demand for volumes in the company’s TiO2 and advanced materials businesses. Chemours guided to a 2023 net loss in the range of $225-235 million, compared with net income of $578 million in 2022. The estimated  2023 net loss includes $746 million of pre-tax litigation settlements and $153 million of restructuring, asset-related, and other charges, offset by a $106 million net pre-tax gain from the sale of the company's Glycolic Acid business. The company is currently evaluating one or more potential material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting, it added. It did not say if or when the executives may resume their duties. Chemours is currently led by Denise Dignam as interim CEO and Matt Abbott as interim CFO and principal financial and accounting officer. Chemical equities research firm Alembic Global Advisors said that a quick resolution of the financial reporting issues, coupled with the fact that they "were not excessive and just limited to Q4 2023, should allay investor concerns about more widespread accounting improprieties." Thumbnail shows Mark Newman, one of the executives placed on administrative leave. Image by Chemours.

07-Mar-2024

Asia top stories – weekly summary

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 1 March 2024. Asian spot TiO2 market set to enjoy support in March By Joson Ng 01-Mar-24 13:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The titanium dioxide (TiO2) Asian spot market is likely to see improving or stable demand in March, especially in China, as the traditional peak demand season kicks in. As producers in China are also citing a healthy number of orders on hand, they are not likely to allow cargoes to go unless the bids are close to their valuation. Korea’s S-Oil targets $2bn capex for Ulsan oil-to-chems project in '24 By Pearl Bantillo 29-Feb-24 12:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korean refiner S-Oil has earmarked won (W) 2.72tr ($2bn) this year for its thermal crude-to-chemical (TC2C) project called Shaheen, representing 87% of the total capital expenditure (capex) set for 2024. VIDEO: China VAM market remains firm post-holiday on tighter spot supply By Joanne Wang 29-Feb-24 11:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)– ICIS senior industry analyst Joanne Wang reviews the vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) market in China in early 2024 and shares a brief market outlook. Japan January inflation at 2.0%; end to negative interest rates in sight By Nurluqman Suratman 27-Feb-24 14:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan's core consumer inflation in January rose by 2.0%, matching the Bank of Japan's (BoJ) price stability target and supporting expectations that the central bank will end its ultra-low interest rates policy by April. Asia oxo-alcohols find support in post-holiday market on tight supply By Julia Tan 26-Feb-24 12:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s spot oxo-alcohols import markets saw quiet trade in the post-holiday period, with limited buying interest from northeast Asian buyers as most opted to assume a wait-and-see stance. Buyers are generally only expected to begin procurement activity following the Lantern Festival, which took place on 24 February. Asia BD spot market buoyant with active China exports By Ai Teng Lim 23-Feb-24 10:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions for Asian butadiene (BD) imports picked up this week as China embarked on active export sales.

04-Mar-2024

US Chemours shares crash after CEO, CFO placed on leave

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Shares of pigment and fluoromaterials producer Chemours fell by more than 35% on Thursday after the company placed its two top executives and its principal accounting officer on administrative leave. Chemours also delayed the release of its full-year earnings for the second time. It did not say when it could release its results. Right now, the company's audit committee is conducting an internal review that will cover the following: The processes for reviewing reports made to the Chemours ethics hotline. The company’s practices for managing working capital, including the related impact on metrics within incentive plans, certain financial metrics made in government filings and in public announcements. Chemours did not say when it would release its full-year earnings. Meanwhile, the Rosen Law Firm is investigating whether a class action lawsuit could be filed on behalf of Chemours's shareholders. ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE FOLLOWS BOUT OF EXECUTIVE TURNOVERThe executives placed on administrative leave are CEO Mark Newman, Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Lock and Principal Accounting Officer Camela Wisel. Denise Dignam will serve as interim CEO. Matt Abbott will serve as as interim CFO and principal financial and accounting officer. Newman has been CEO since mid-2021. Before that he was the company's chief operating officer. Lock became CFO in mid-2023. He succeeded Sameer Ralhan, who was one of several high-profile departures that took place that year. The following lists the other departures: At the end of March 2023, Ed Sparks resigned as the president of Titanium Technologies and Chemical Solutions. Also at the end of March, Sheryl Telford resigned as the company's chief sustainability officer. At the end of May 2023, Alisha Bellezza resigned as president, Thermal & Specialized Solutions (TSS), the business segment that makes fluorochemicals. Susan Kelliher, senior vice president, people, resigned at the end of September 2023. FIRST DELAY ANNOUNCED IN MID-FEBRUARYChemours disclosed that its audit committee was conducting the review in mid-February, when it announced the first delay of its earnings release. Chemours makes titanium dioxide, fluorochemicals and fluoropolymers like Teflon. Thumbnail shows Chemours CEO Mark Newman. Image by Chemours.

29-Feb-2024

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