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E-News Update
June 2011
PRA June-July 2011 Electronic Issue
Now Available


Lead Feature

BASF banking on engineering resins in Asia

Engineering plastics are key to German company BASF's growth in Asia, especially since opportunities abound in various sectors of the industry. It is for this reason the chemical giant will be pumping up its compounding capacity for engineering plastics at its Pudong plant in China to 110,000 tonnes/year by 2015 and in South Korea, by an additional 13,000 tonnes/year.

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Company News

Graham to be bought by Reynolds
In a fresh turn of events, US packaging supplier Graham Packaging will terminate its merger agreement with Silgan Holdings and enter into a new binding written definitive agreement with Reynolds Group Holdings. This is after the latter offered a higher purchase price of US$25/share to Graham.
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BASF adding more compounding capacity in Europe
Anticipating a growth of 5% a year in Europe, German chemical company BASF will expand compounding capacity by 10,000 tonnes for its engineering plastics Ultramid and Ultradur at its Schwarzheide site. It is also expanding capacities in Asia (see Lead Story).
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Clariant expects higher sales
Swiss speciality chemicals supplier Clariant has raised its 2011 sales and margin targets, with a sales growth in the high single-digit range compared to 2010 and an EBITDA margin between 13.5-14.5%. For 2015, Clariant is targeting sales above CHF10 billion and an EBITDA margin before exceptional items above 17%.
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China's coatings market benefits from white pigment
AkzoNobel has entered into a partnership in China with Quangxi CAVA Titanium Industry for the production and supply of titanium dioxide (TiO2).
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Styrolution born out of styrenics
Germany-based BASF SE and Ineos have obtained approval from the EU Commission on the formation of the 50:50 joint venture company Styrolution. BASF will "carve out" its styrenics business and will combine these units with Ineos's styrene business.
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More PET in the global market
Thai company Indorama Ventures, which had previously announced a 220,000 tonnes/year PET resin plant to serve Europe, has confirmed that the plant will be in Poland. Meanwhile, South Korean SKC has contracted plant engineering for its optical grade PET at its Jincheon facility.
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BMS on track with R&D centre in China
In line with its EUR1 billion investment plan, German chemicals company Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) recently held a ground breaking ceremony for the third phase of the expansion of its Polymer Research & Development Centre (PRDC) in Shanghai, China. It will be operational by the second half of 2012.
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In Brief

Lanxess one of contenders in Taminco buy
According to news reports, German chemicals supplier Lanxess is one of the contenders considering buying Belgian supplier of alkylamines and alkylamine derivatives Taminco. The deal is said to be worth about EUR1 billion. Reports say that Lanxess has hired JPMorgan Chase to explore a takeover. Taminco owner CVC Capital Partners is working with Bank of America and Goldman Sachs Group to assess interest in the business. Lanxess recently completed the acquisition of DSM's elastomer business for US$415 million. Last year, Taminco had sales of EUR715 million and a profit of EUR41 million. Spun off in 2003 from chemical and pharmaceutical company UCB, it was acquired by CVC in 2007 for EUR800 million.


More high value POs for Repsol
Spanish petrochemicals company Repsol will increase the production capacity of ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers (EVA) at its Puertollano site to 15,000 tonnes/year. The unit will also be able to achieve vinyl acetate (VA) content of more than 35%. The company says the capacity increase is a part of a series of investments planned at its Puertollano production facility to maximise the production of high-value polyolefins.


Mitsubishi adding on more TPEs
Japanese company Mitsubishi Chemical will invest 700 million yen to expand its production facilities for olefin thermoplastic elastomers and adhesive polymers in China and in the US to further accelerate global expansion of the performance polymers business. This allows Mitsubishi Chemical to establish a supply and sales network in China, in addition to Japan, Europe and the US. In the US, the company will increase production by 1,800 tons/year and in China, it will add on a supply of 4,500 tonnes/year upon completion of the facility May 2012.


Chemtura to build facility in China
US-based speciality chemicals supplier Chemtura will build a multi-purpose facility in Nantong, China, to support its growth strategy. The facility is expected to initially serve Chemtura's additives and PU businesses and is expected to provide sufficient additional capacity for other Chemtura businesses. The additives business requires local manufacturing and storage capabilities for some of its product lines in order to meet customer demand. These include synthetic finished fluids (refrigeration lubricants, air compressor lubricants and gear oils), and calcium sulphonate grease.


New unit for DSM
Dutch company DSM has formed a Functional Materials business unit that will expand its innovation activities in the area of formulated coatings and composites. The move follows an extensive strategic study for the company's resins business and will result in the activities of its current DSM Desotech Business Unit being integrated with the new structure. DSM Functional Materials will focus on market trends pointing toward more environmentally friendly and lighter-weight materials. It will continue its leadership in UV-curable materials with a strong focus on Asia and other high-growth economies, while also targeting additional high-growth areas for its innovation efforts.


Softer ranking up after PGroup acquisition
By having acquired engineering plastics producer PGroup, Italian company Softer says it is now amongst the three largest compounders in Europe, in terms of volume, with 120,000 tonnes of sales this year. The company has also strengthened its position in Germany, especially in the automotive industry and has increased its portfolio with the addition of PGroup's Tecnoprene reinforced plastics products and Pibiflex copolyesters. Softer had already taken over PGroup through a leasing contract after PGroup went into voluntary liquidation last year. Softer had a turnover of EUR150 million last year and has two other companies in Mexico and Brazil.


First distribution facility in Asia for PolyOne
Specialised polymer materials supplier PolyOne will open its first polymer distribution warehouse outside the US, in Shanghai, China. The US company says that it will primarly serve healthcare device manufacturers and processors in Asia, while plans are in the pipeline to broaden the distribution service to other industries over the next few years. Since 2006, its healthcare sales have expanded 95% and now represent over US$250 million in annual sales.



Materials News

Carbon fibres not out of steam yet
Even with natural fibres contending to take over traditional fibres as fillers in plastics, companies are still setting up facilities for the commonly used fibres. While Sabic has acquired a license to use carbon fibre technology from Italy-based Montefibre for its new plant in Saudi Arabia, Dow Chemical and Aksa are setting up a joint venture to manufacture and market carbon fibre and fibre composites.
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PP the subject of a carbon footprint study
With more than 50 million tonnes of PP produced globally, it warrants a cradle-to-plant-gate study to determine its carbon footprint or environmental impact. The study, by information and analysis provider IHS, has found that a diversity of manufacturing routes leads to a diversity of carbon footprints that range by a factor of six.
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In Brief

PFPE capacity expansion
Solvay will invest EUR15 million to increase production capacity for its perfluoropolyethers (PFPE), marketed as Fomblin-Y and Galden, in Spinetta Marengo, Italy. The capacity expansion will be completed by the end of 2012. Demand for these two product families is expected to continue to grow. "This capacity expansion will give us the opportunity to continue keeping track of the growing global demand for our high value-added products. Having excellent sustainability profiles, these product families help our customers meet the evermore demanding requirements and will enable Solvay to continue its sustainable and profitable growth," said Augusto Di Donfrancesco, General Manager of Solvay's Global Business Unit Specialty Polymers.


Machinery News

Large diameter pipe machinery to Norway
Vienna-based Battenfeld-Cincinnati has will supply to Pipelife Norge of Norway large-diameter pipe extrusion lines to produce fully walled polyolefin pipes with diameters of up to 2,500 mm at its plant in Stathelle.
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European machinery associations heave a sigh of relief
The first quarter results released by the Italian plastics and rubber machinery association Assocomaplast showed a 24% increase in exports, with China becoming the second most important destination for Italian machines, after Germany. German VDMA association, meanwhile, expects a sales growth of 18% this year, with output rising to EUR5.8 billion and a projected growth of 7% for next year.
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In Brief

Erema rakes in record orders
Austrian manufacturer of recycling systems Erema says its order intake rose to a record high of EUR127 million in the year ending 31 March, up from EUR75 million last year. Compared to the previous year, it represents an increase of 70% and is also 30% above the previous record order intake of 2007/2008, said the company. "This success was encouraged on the one hand by the further developments of the plant and process technologies that have improved both customer benefits and the price/performance ratio," it said in a statement released recently.


Exhibition News

Asia to lead composites growth
Last year, global composites production expanded by nearly 5% to reach 8 million tonnes, with the Asia Pacific region accounting for 38% of the total production volume. It is against this backdrop that the JEC Asia show will be held from 18-20 October in Singapore.
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. Injection Moulding Asia

New resin improves productivity for medical devices
A new high density polyethylene (HDPE) from Borealis and Borouge is said to provide productivity improvements for converters in the healthcare market without compromising the performance of medical devices and pharmaceutical and diagnostic packaging.
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Automotive vanes take to PEEK
Since it is resistant to automotive fluids, Victrex PEEK has been used by Chinese automotive parts maker Wuxi Shuangling Electrical-apparatus Factory to manufacture vanes applied in its rotary vane vacuum pump. It was used as an alternative to PPS and graphite.
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Resin targets thinwall packaging
of mould technology DME Company has enhanced its line of Edge mould bases with a pre-pocketed option and top locks already installed to reduce lead times.
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Moulds enhanced for thinwall moulding
A PP for thinwall injection moulding applications, containing antistatic additives, has been developed by Sabic for the production of containers for yellow fats and packaging for dairy products such as yoghurts, cream, flavoured milk and cheese spreads.
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