Higher sales pushed up the first-quarter profits of PTT Aromatics and Refinery Plc

(Bangkok Post) -- Higher sales and margins pushed up the first-quarter profits of PTT Aromatics and Refinery Plc (PTTAR) and PTT Chemical Plc (PTTCH), whose shareholders endorsed their merger last month.

PTTCH, Southeast Asia's largest olefins maker, posted a net profit of 6.18 billion baht, up 95% from the same period in a year earlier. Revenues rose 49% to 35.37 billion baht.

The company said it benefited from higher olefins production volume from the PTT Polyethylene Co (PTTPE) cracker, which started commercial operations last December. As well, it saw gains from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and ethanolamines (EA) production at Thai Ethanolamines Co (TEA) which started operations in January 2011, and the low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unit of PTTPE, which started commercial operations in February this year.


Dow to start an ethylene unit in the Netherlands

(Bloomberg) -- Dow Chemical Co. is preparing to start an ethylene unit at its Terneuzen chemicals site in the Netherlands following a halt in March for planned maintenance. ⌠We are not yet back online and are in the process of restarting, Sue Breach, a U.K.-based company spokeswoman, said today in an e-mailed statement.

Cracker 1, along with other chemical processing units at the facility, was shut in mid-March for the work and was scheduled to be started at the beginning of May.

The cracker is one of three on site with capacity to produce 580 KT of ethylene a year. Dow's Terneuzen site has a total capacity of 1.81 million tons a year, according to the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe. Ethylene is used to make plastics. The crackers are flexible, able to use naphtha and liquid petroleum gas as feedstock, according to Dow's website.


Middle East crude values extended a rally on Wednesday

(Reuters) - Middle East crude values extended a rally on Wednesday as expected tighter supplies from Yemen added to bullish sentiment related to improving naphtha margins and a well-bid market for July cargoes.

The lighter grades with higher naphtha content strengthened further, as refiners attempted to boost gasoline production. Abu Dhabi Murban was heard to have traded at a premium bigger than 70 cents to the ADNOC price, up from 60 cents on Tuesday.

That imbued the rest of the market with stamina, sending notional premiums for July spot Oman crude to at least USD 1.45 a barrel over Dubai quotes, matching the peak reached for June supplies last month. Some traders said premiums were already close to USD 1.50, although this could not be confirmed.


Bormioli Rocco turns to Millad NX 8000 clarifying agent for new range of dosage caps

(Milliken) -- High-clarity polypropylene dosage caps being launched this month at Interpack benefit from the optic- and process-enhancing properties of Milliken's next-generation clarifying agent Millad NX 8000. Leading packaging producer Bormioli Rocco is using a new PP random copolymer containing the class-leading additive to make the caps, intended for pharmaceutical syrups.

Bormioli Rocco already has a very wide range of dosage caps, moulded in polypropylene. It plans to shift production of much of that range to PP containing Millad NX 8000 in the coming months. Bormioli Rocco will make the caps in processing facilities at the headquarters of its plastics business unit in Castelguelfo di Fontevivo, just outside Parma, Italy, as well as in Rivanazzano, close to Milan in Italy, and in Saint Sulpice, near Toulouse in France.

The company wanted to improve the transparency of its dosage caps to give the final user the best view possible of the level of liquid inside. It has used clarified PP in the past, but Millad NX 8000 takes it to the next level. In fact, Bormioli Rocco says it has already received positive feedback from key customers.


Toyota and Honda to see further fall in April-June profits

(ICIS) -- Toyota Motor and other major Japanese automakers are expected to post a further decline in their financial performance in the second quarter of this year after a slump in production and profits during the first three months of 2011, analysts said on Thursday.

The twin natural disasters that struck northeast Japan on 11 March paralysed auto parts supply chains, triggering production shutdowns and delays as well as cancellation of orders. The operations of 40 auto parts manufacturers in Japan have been jeopardised by plant outages and power shortages following the earthquake, said a report by Zacks Equity Research.

The automobile industry is a large end-market for materials, such as polypropylene (PP), nylon, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polyurethane (PU) flexible foam, synthetic rubber as well as paintings and coatings.

Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, said on 11 May that its net income for the first quarter of this year slumped to yen (Y) 25.4bn (USD 314m), compared with the Y112.2bn gain in the same period a year earlier. Sales during the period fell 12% year on year to Y4,642bn.

Meanwhile, Honda Motor posted a 27.6% year-on-year fall in net income during the first quarter of 2011 to Y44.5bn, while sales plunged 66.4% to Y2,213bn.