Bekaert Group has completed the acquisition of the Pirelli steel cord plants in Figline (Italy), Slatina (Romania), and Sumaré (Brazil). The deal include a long-term supply agreement will come into effect for the delivery of Bekaert tire cord products to Pirelli.
Thailand’s SCG Chemicals announced 22 Dec that it has acquired 51% of the shares in the independent petrochemical institute Norner Holding from the current Norwegian owners, private equity fund E&M. “Norner is a market leader in polymer and plastics innovation and will be an important part of the jigsaw to SCG Chemicals in many areas of product innovation,” said Cholanat Yanaranop, president of SCG Chemicals.
Gilles Mazzolini will take over as general manager of the Lognes-based French subsidiary of injection moulding machinery company Sumitomo (SHI) Demag as of 1 Jan 2015. Currently head of sales at Sumitomo (SHI) Demag France, Mazzolini studied polymer engineering and marketing at Metz University and joined the former Demag Ergotech in France as sales engineer in 2008. He took over as head of sales in 2013. He will replace Christian Lozé, who is retiring.
BASF on 9 Dec broke ground on a new €50 million ‘innovation campus’ in Navi Mumbai, India. The BASF Chemicals India Private Ltd facility will accommodate around 300 scientists investigating areas such as crop protection, process development and polymer research.
European chemical industry group Cefic has pegged back its forecast for growth in the sector due to a weakening both in the performance of the industry and in the EU and global economies. As a result, the industry association now expects EU chemical production to grow by just 1 percent in 2015 – compared to 1.5 percent forecast earlier.
Saint-Gobain SA plans to acquire a controlling interest in Sika AG through the purchase of Schenker Winkler Holding AG, the owner of 16.1 percent of Sika’s capital and 52.4 percent of its voting rights. The purchase, for approximately $2.81 billion (€2.27 billion), is pending approval from the relevant antitrust authorities. Saint-Gobain said it is expected to be finalised in the second half of 2015 at the latest.
Barington Capital Group has expressed its displeasure with the performance of Omnova Solutions Inc. in a letter sent to Kevin McMullen, Omnova’s chairman and CEO, on 3 Dec. Omnova employs about 2,300 and produces emulsion polymers, specialty chemicals, and decorative and functional surfaces for a variety of commercial, industrial and residential end uses.
Dynasol Elastomers SA – a Madrid-based JV between Group Kuo SAB de CV of Mexico and Repsol Quimica is preparing to begin production at its Chinese JV with Shanxi Northern Xing'an Chemical Industry Co. Ltd. Liaoning North Dynasol will have capacity for 100ktpa of solution styrene-butadiene rubber and thermoplastic rubber. Dynasol already produces over 200ktpa of SSBR, SBS and SEBS across facilities in Altamira, Mexico, and Santander, Spain.
The International Rubber Study Group has announced that Michelin’s senior vice president and chief procurement officer, Luc Minguet will deliver a keynote speech at the World Rubber Summit,, 24-25 March 2015 at MAX Atria at the Singapore EXPO Exhibition and Convention Centre.
The Association of Rubber Products Manufacturers (ARPM) has appointed Lisa Huntsman, president of Lauren Manufacturing, to its board of directors. According to Business Wire “Lauren has been a manufacturer of elastomeric products for more than 50 years.”
The All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA), the industry body for rubber products manufacturing industries in India has appointed Dr. Sanjay Sanghvi as secretary general of the association. He will be based out of Mumbai.
KBR is to provide licensing and basic engineering design services to Lotte Chemical Titan for the revamp of a steam cracker plant in Asia Pacific. The aim is to increase the plant’s olefins production capacity and diversify its feedstock. KBR’s catalytic olefins technology can convert low-value olefinic streams into high-value propylene and ethylene.
US polyethylene (PE) prices fell in November for the first time in two years, by an average of 3c per pound in November, following a decline in crude oil prices since June, Plastics News reports. The previous PE price drop was a 2c dip in November 2012. Polypropylene resin prices in the region followed suit. While natural gas is the main feedstock for US PE production, oil is still used to set the resin price.
The on-going decline in oil prices is hitting Malaysia much harder than most other Asian countries, the Wall Street Journal has reported. The country is very reliant on the export of oil, palm oil and rubber which are experiencing a linked decline in global prices. In contrast, the report said that other Asian economies, which are commodity importers, are set to benefit from lower oil prices.
Some 69 percent of small and medium-sized manufacturers in England expect to increase investment in new technology, machinery or premises in a bid to improve their productivity according to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer. This also revealed that 57 percent of the 859 respondents had already raised their productivity within the last six months: 80 percent admitting further efficiency gains are necessary in order to remain competitive. Furthermore, 95 percent of firms are planning to either maintain or increase their workforce.
Stephen Pryor, president of the ExxonMobil Chemical Co. and vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp., has elected to retire at the end of 2014 after more than 44 years of service. Exxon said it is anticipated the board of directors will appoint Neal Chapman as Pryor’s replacement and elect him a vice president of the corporation, effective 1 Jan. Chapman is currently senior vice president, polymers, ExxonMobil Chemical Co.
Moody’s has changed its outlook for the global integrated oil and gas sector from ‘positive’ to ‘stable’. The downgrade, it said, was due to expectations of lower demand for oil in major consuming economies and the steep drop in oil prices this year. The ‘stable’ outlook reflects the industry’s EBITDA growth, which will be essentially flat in 2015, down from Moody’s earlier forecast of 5 percent growth or more in 2015.
Daniele Ferrari, CEO of Versalis, will deliver the keynote address at the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP) annual meeting in Cape Town South Africa, 20-23 April 2015. The event will focus on sustainability, innovation and trends influencing the synthetic rubber industry are among the topics that industry-leading speakers will address.
The UK has confirmed its commitment to shale gas with plans to establish the country’s first national shale oil & gas college. The National College for Onshore Oil and Gas will be based in Blackpool and linked to colleges in Chester, Redcar and Cleveland, Glasgow and Portsmouth. The UK government is providing £750k of funding for the college, to be matched by industry bodies and education providers.
The rubber market attracted the highest percentage of global market participants of any sector trading on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) in September. A TOCOM activity survey found that the sector accounted for more than 60 percent of the total trades submitted through overseas futures commission merchants and intermediaries. Overall, activity by overseas investors accounted for 44 percent of monthly volume.
Economic risk, rather than war or an international epidemic, is the biggest threat to world supply chains, says the Q3 2014 CIPS Risk Index from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply. Supply chain risk in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa increased in Q3 but neither the Ebola outbreak nor the advance of Islamic State has delivered a significant increase in international supply chain risk. Instead, it is the economic slowdown in the supply chain power houses of Germany and and China which could jeopardise supply chains.
Evonik has signed distribution agreements with Cary Co. and Dorsett & Jackson (D&J), for its silica products in the US Midwest and Western regions, respectively. Cary Co., which previously represented Evonik’s silica products in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Northern Indiana and parts of Iowa and Illinois, will now also cover all of Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. In addition to California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, D&J will represent Evonik in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Walsh & Associates Inc. had previously supported Evonik’s distribution of silica in these areas, Evonik said.
Indonesian rubber producers held on to stocks this week as prices tumbled to within striking distance of five-year lows reached in October, Business Recorder has reported. Dealers said the move prompted sellers in the world’s number 2 rubber producing country to exercise caution. Benchmark Tokyo rubber futures, which set the tone for tyre-grade prices in Southeast Asia, fell 4 percent to a two-week low of 191.9 yen (€1.33) per kg on 5 Nov.
Dow Chemical says it will appeal a polyurethanes price-fixing class-action judgment to the US Supreme Court. In September, the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed a jury verdict awarding the plaintiffs $1.06 billion. Dow asked the court to rehear the case, but on 7 Nov, the court turned the company down.
Versalis, the chemicals subsidiary of ENI, will permanently shut down a complex producing xylenes and ethylbenzene at Sarroch, Italy, following the purchase of some downstream assets at the site by the refining group Saras. “When we started to look at better integration of our business, the most logical thing was for the nearby refinery to purchase the asset,” ChemWeek news website quoted Versalis CEO Daniele Ferrari as saying.
A Thai Agriculture Ministry adviser has called for setting a selling price for rubber based on benefit-sharing between growers and manufactures. “A benefit-sharing model would see the need to strike agreements with manufacturers to buy the output at a set price even when the market price is higher or lower,” said Amnuay Patise quoted by Bangkok Post on 8 Nov. He called the model a “win-win solution”, as rubber farmers can sell their product at a higher price when the global price is sagging, while manufacturers can purchase rubber at a lower price when the market price is climbing.
The Economic Times of India has reported further drop in rubber’s premium status as sales of saplings are “fast declining”. “Frustrated by the low prices that have been prevailing for nearly a year, the growers are looking at other options which provide them with better remuneration. The fall in prices to a near five-year low of Rs 120 (€1.50) per kg has hit the development of rubber plantations in other regions - such as north eastern states, Karnatak, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP) has published the 2014 edition of Worldwide Rubber Statistics, and is making copies available to interested parties. The 86-page book provides analysis of capacity by elastomer type, by geographical distribution, and by corporate ownership and a section on capacities of SR production facilities throughout the world, including planned and announced expansions.
ContiTech, together with Elaflex, a company specialising in connectors for fuelling and pipe technology, are showcasing ERV rubber expansion joints in China. According to ContiTech product range is designed for a wide variety of industrial applications. ContiTech also announced that it produces conventional air springs and air actuators for the Chinese market. They are used in various industrial applications.
Kraton’s board of directors has recently approved a share repurchase programme through which the company may repurchase outstanding shares of the company's common stock having an aggregate purchase price of up to $50 million. "This share buy-back program is Kraton's first, and should allow investors to see accretive benefits given the Company's current public valuation," said Kevin Fogarty, president and CEO.
Rubber processing equipment maker REP International has unveiled a new website devoted to rubber devulcanisation using the patented HSM technology. Having spent many years developing machines, processes and applications based on HSM technology, both at laboratory and production scales, Watson Brown HSM GmbH entered the REP Group in 2013. REP Watson Brown is now commercialising the technology by offering devulcanising services and equipment.
Trelleborg’s engineered fabrics operation in the US, has acquired the assets and businesses of coated fabrics specialists, Uretek Archer LLC Group. The group, comprises of Uretek LLC and Archer Rubber Company LLC, specialising in lightweight laminated polyurethane and rubber-coated fabrics in North America.
Royal Dutch Shell plc has appointed Chad Holliday as chairman with effect from the conclusion of its 2015 AGM – subject to his re-appointment as a director of the Company by shareholders at the meeting. Holliday will succeed Jorma Ollila who has served as chairman for nine years. Holliday is a non-executive director of Shell since 2010, and is currently chairman of its CSR committee and member of the remuneration committee. He was CEO of DuPont from 1998 to 2009, and chairman from 1999 to 2009.
The Rubber in Engineering Group (RIEG) of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IoM3) is hosting an afternoon technical discussion meeting on the topic of elastomers that are used in extreme conditions. The free event is sponsored by Birla Carbon. Everyone wishing to attend must pre-register with Dr Sally Beken, by email at [email protected].
Sasol has approved a $8.1bn ethane cracker and derivatives complex at its Lake Chaarles, Louisiana site – a decision described as “a defining moment in our company’s history,” by David Constable, president and CEO. The shale-advantaged project, he said, will about triple Sasol’s chemicals production capacity in the US. The project features an ethane cracker designed to produce 1,500 ktpa of ethylene and six plants for the production of, as yet unspecified, commodity and speciality chemicals.
BASF Group sales grew by 3 percent compared with Q3/13, reaching €18.3bn, helped mainly by a sharp rise in volumes in the natural gas trading business sector. Income from operations (EBIT) before special items rose €150m to around €1.8bn. The main contributors to this growth were the Chemicals and Oil & Gas segments. “The economic environment remained challenging ... Geopolitical tensions and increasing uncertainty about the global economic development significantly dampened demand for chemical products,” said chairman Dr. Kurt Bock.
Private equity firms are planning to swoop for Bayer MaterialScience (BMS), according to a Reuters report. Owner Bayer has signalled plans to list the €10bn-turnover polymers business on the stock market. Leverkusen, Germany-based BMS is focused mainly on the supply of polyurethanes and polycarbonate.
Federal-Mogul Holdings Corp. reported a loss of $18m on sales of $1.87bn in its third quarter, to 30 Sept. – compared with Q3 net income of $38m on revenue of $1.69bn in 2013. The loss reflects a $25m restructuring charge as part of the US firm’s plan to split into two publicly traded companies by H1 2015: one supplying powertrain components to the automotive industry, the other aftermarket parts.
The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP) has elected Conser SpA. as its most recent affiliate Member. Headquartered in Rome, Conser is a consultancy to the synthetic rubber industry Italy. It has designated Gabriella Compagnone as the liaison representative and Alessio Pugliese as her alternate.
Total has named Thierry Desmarest as chairman and Patrick Pouyanné as chief executive officer and president. The move follows the tragic death of chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie, who was killed in an airplane accident in Moscow on the night of 21 Oct. Desmarest, was at one time in charge of Hutchinson SA, a subsidiary of Total.
The International Latex Conference will be held 11-12 Aug, 2015, in Akron, Ohio. The event is organised by Akron Dispersions and Rubber & Plastics News. Anyone interested in submitting an abstract for consideration at the conference, contact: Jim Finn, conference chairman 330-666-0045 or [email protected], by April 15, 2015.
Liquid silicone rubber's ability to be formed into complex geometries, fast cycle times through injection moulding as a closed-loop system is making it more prevalent in sealing applications for the life science industries, said Jim Hederman, senior product manager for Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. “It's cost effective in the respect that you have very short cycle times and the level of automation that can be used,” he said.