US-based Dow Chemical is aiming to sell its polypropylene business

(ICIS) -- US-based Dow Chemical is aiming to sell its polypropylene (PP) business and its PP catalyst licensing business separately, sources in the financial community said on Tuesday. ⌠They are bringing the PP business and the PP catalyst licensing business to market separately, said one source. US-based investment bank Citi is handling the sales, sources said. While Dow has not officially said its PP business is for sale, it has hinted at a divestiture.

⌠Commodity plastics that have anything to do with propylene ­or ethylene, in the long-term, will not be in Dow's future, said Dow chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris, on the company's first-quarter
conference call in late April.

While Liveris would not identify which plastics businesses were being considered for divestiture, its PP and high density PE (HDPE) units were classified under ⌠basic plastics in its first-quarter earnings presentation.


Global M&A activity is rising to pre-crisis levels

(ICIS) -- Global chemicals merger and acquisition (M&A) activity is rising to pre-crisis levels, with most of the deals driven by industry rather than finance, Tom Crotty, group director at Swiss-headquartered INEOS, said on Wednesday. ⌠M&A was a natural part of our lives until 2007, he told delegates at the Global Petrochemicals annual meeting, organised by the World Refining Association (WRA). ⌠It went away but it's back.

In the first four months of 2011, there were USD 50bn (EUR 35bn) of announced deals in the sector, the equivalent to the pre-crisis deal rate of 2007, Crotty said.

In addition, as producers emerge from the downturn, many are seeking to restructure their businesses to cut costs and prepare for the next set of unpredictable events, Crotty said.

While there have been some major deals announced by financial institutions, the largest of which is Berkshire Hathaway's USD 9.7bn bid for US lubricants and specialty chemicals company Lubrizol, most of the deals are being driven by industry.

Recently-announced, industry-driven deals include Solvay's USD 4.8bn agreement to buy Rhodia and Clariant's USD 2.7bn bid for Sud-Chemie.


China's NBA prices have been falling for nearly a month

(ICIS) -- China's n-butanol (NBA) prices have been falling for nearly a month, shedding 6.5%, because of weak demand, with sellers struggling not to incur losses, market sources said on Wednesday.

NBA prices were at yuan (CNY) 12.600/tonne (USD 1.935/tonne) EXW (ex-works) in east China at the close of business on 17 May, according to Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

Current prices are nearing sellers' cost, bolstering expectations that values will finally stabilise by end-May at around CNY11.500/tonne, market sources said.

Sellers and producers said they hope demand will start to pick up in June to buoy up prices and enable them to recover some margins.

Throughout May, however, demand will be dismal, with traders and downstream producers laden with high inventory, market sources said.


Sabic to expand polycarbonate capacity in Asia

(Sabic) -- The Innovative Plastics strategic business unit of SABIC today announced at Chinaplas 2011 that it is adding new production lines of the company's world-renowned Lexan polycarbonate (PC) resins and films in Shanghai and Nansha, China. These additions are part of the company's strategy to support the dynamic growth of key plastics sectors in this region, particularly the consumer electronics, electrical, solar, security and automotive industries. Building on over 80 years of advanced technology breakthroughs, Innovative Plastics continues to be a leader in the plastics industry with its flagship PC material. It is continually developing distinctive new Lexan material solutions to meet evolving technological, environmental, performance and regulatory challenges.

The company's Lexan resin is produced to meet increasing capacity demand for key industries including consumer electronics, electrical, solar and automotive. Lexan specialty copolymers provide extreme high heat resistance; excellent flow/ductility; virtually unbreakable impact strength; scratch protection; flame-smoke-toxicity performance; and ultra violet (UV) protection to higher levels.


Braskem's green plastic certified by Vincotte

(Braskem) -- The green plastic produced by Braskem has recently received the highest certification for renewable products from Vincotte. The Belgium certification association is one of the world's main references in this type of evaluation.

Samples of the HDPE and LLDPE families were evaluated, with the entire Green PE line receiving four-star certifications, which is the highest quality rating conferred by Vincotte. Braskem's Green PE is now authorized to use the 'Ok Biobased' seal, an international identification granted by the certification association to products made from proven renewable sources.

For Braskem, the certification confirms the international recognition of the renewable content of Green PE, increasing its credibility in the market and value creation in the relationship with Clients.

Green plastic began to be produced on an industrial scale in September 2010, with the inauguration of the plant that produces its raw material - ethanol-based ethylene - in the city of Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul state. Green PE was developed by Braskem with the aim of being totally recyclable and reusable.