UK's INEOS confirms it will relocate HQ to Switzerland

April 13 (ICIS) -- INEOS confirmed on Monday that it will move its headquarters from the UK to Switzerland to help make tax savings of around ┬450m ($616m) over the next four years. The chemical major's relocation proposal, which was initially announced in early March, has been approved by its lenders, including The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds TSB.

Since the beginning of April, a number of directors - including the group's founder, Jim Ratcliffe - have resigned from INEOS's UK holding company, according to documents filed at UK business registrar Companies House. ⌠As part of the process of change, the directors have resigned from the UK holding company and taken up their posts as directors of the Swiss holding company, INEOS spokesperson Richard Longden said. INEOS said that its day-to-day operations in the UK and elsewhere in the world would be unaffected by the move.

Meanwhile, INEOS said it was still in talks with potential investors over the future of its Grangemouth, UK, petrochemical facility. The company has reportedly been looking to sell a stake in the facility in order to ease its debts. ⌠We are in discussions with a number of interested parties about investment in growth opportunities at the Grangemouth refinery, but they are commercially confidential and it would be somewhat premature to speculate on whether any discussions might lead to investment or not, Longden said. ⌠INEOS has been open that it has been looking for opportunities to strengthen its balance sheet and is looking to improve the company, he added.

Last month INEOS completed the sale of its fluorochemicals business to Mexichem Fluor, a subsidiary of Mexico's Mexichem, as part of its strategy to focus on large-scale petrochemicals businesses.


MRC Reference

Ineos is a petrochemical group.
In Russia Ineos's interests are represented by Ineos Polyolefins and IneosChlorVinyls.

The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PVC - 4.5%;

polyethylene - 1.9%
(HDPE - 2.8%, LDPE - 1.2%);
polypropylene - 1.4%
(PP-random - 22.1%, PP-impact - 2.0%);
polystyrene - 0.9%.

Imports by polymers processing technologies:
profile extrusion;
pipe extrusion;
film extrusion;
injection molding.

Scientists develop holy grail' PO reaction

April 13 (prw) -- Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have identified a class of silver-based catalysts for the production of propylene oxide, which they claim is less expensive than traditional catalysts as well as being environmentally friendly. "The production of propylene oxide has a significant amount of by-products that are harmful to the environment, including chlorinated or peroxycarboxylic waste, said chemist Stefan Vajda of Argonne's Materials Science Division and Center for Nanoscale Materials. ⌠We have identified nanoclusters of silver as a catalyst that produce this chemical with few by-products at low temperatures, he explained.

The statement said that although large silver particles have been used to produce PO from propylene, ⌠this method suffers from a low selectivity or low conversion to PO -- creating a large amount of carbon dioxide. However, Vajda claims, nanoscale clusters of silver - consisting of three-atom clusters as well as larger clusters of 3.5 nanometers - are highly active and selective catalysts for the production of PO.

The study is a result of a collaborative team involving five Argonne divisions and collaborators from the Fritz-Haber-Institut in Berlin and from the University of Illinois in Chicago, including collaboration between the experimental effort led by Vajda and the theoretical analysis led by Curtiss and Greeley.


BASF expands Technical Competence Center in Shanghai

April 12 (adsalecprj) -- Global chemical supplier BASF has recently inaugurated a new section of its Technical Competence Center for intermediates at its Shanghai Pudong site. The new laboratory will specialize in epoxy systems for fiber-reinforced composites, which are used, for example, in wind turbine blades. BASF sells these systems under its Baxxodur brand. The competence center integrates this new epoxy laboratory with BASF's existing PolyTHF laboratory, which will also expand the scope of its services.

In the new epoxy laboratory BASF can simulate its customers' production processes using Baxxodur epoxy systems under production conditions. BASF's application engineers develop tailored solutions and provide onsite technical support to their customers.

At BASF's expanded Technical Competence Center various polymer synthesis facilities can be used to customize new formulations, improve existing ones and adjust mechanical and thermal properties of PolyTHF-based products to specific applications. Sample and specimen analysis as well as laboratory support for starting up customer plants round off the service offer.


MRC Reference

BASF. The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PS - 9.1% (GPPS - 5.9%, ABS - 11.4%, EPS - 10.6%).

Annual sales growth in Russia over the 5 years:
PS - 15%.

Imports by polymers processing technologies:
injection molding.

Dow Construction Chemicals announces price increases

April 12 (Dow) -- Dow Construction Chemicals will implement a price increase of 13% in Europe - including Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey - and Middle East and Africa for all emulsions sold to the building and construction industries.

The increase, effective April 15th 2010, or as contracts allow, will affect all acrylic and styrene-acrylic emulsions.The increases are necessitated by the continued cost escalation of key raw materials used to manufacture these products.


MRC Reference

Iran to privatise oil and gas sector

April 12 (plastemart) -- Mehr Iran plans to privatise all its refineries and petrochemical units, seeking to speed up the sale of state assets in a bid to encourage private investment and boost the economy. Currently, the Iranian economy is under U.S. and U.N. sanctions over Tehran's disputed nuclear program. Western companies shirk from investing in Iran due to the long-running nuclear dispute. Few of the companies on sale may end up being transferred within the country's vast public sector.

Work on ceding (ownership of) oil companies has begun and based on plans, all petrochemical units and refineries will be ceded, including service, drilling and support companies. Iran has transferred shares in six petrochemical plants and power stations to a social welfare investment organisation of the Islamic Republic's armed forces, instead of debt payment.