BASF Catalysis Award 2011 presented for contributions to catalytic processes in organic synthesis

(BASF) -- Professor Tobias Ritter of Harvard University receives BASF Catalysis Award 2011
International experts from academia and industry guesting at ⌠Heidelberg Forum of Molecular Catalysis.

For his outstanding research contributions to catalytic processes in organic synthesis, Professor Dr. Tobias Ritter of Harvard University in Cambridge (USA) is receiving the BASF Catalysis Award 2011. The prize, worth EUR 10.000, will be presented today by Dr. Friedrich Seitz, Head of BASF's Technology Platform Chemicals Research & Engineering, at the ⌠Heidelberg Forum of Molecular Catalysis, a symposium of international experts organized jointly by Heidelberg University, Collaborative Research Center 623 ⌠Molecular Catalysts and BASF SE.

With his research group centered at Harvard University, Professor Ritter is working in the field of synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry and, specifically, on the synthesis of complex molecules. Mechanistic studies are ongoing to develop practical access to molecules of interest in catalysis, medicine and for new materials.

The prizewinner and his research team are currently focusing on fluorination chemistry of complex compounds under mild reaction conditions. This is because organic fluorine compounds, compared to compounds of other halogens, are difficult to synthesize in a controlled manner. However, these substances are of major interest: medical professionals use them for imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET).


AkzoNobel's Q2 net income falls as raw materials rise 20%

(ICIS) -- AkzoNobel's net income fell by 1.8% in the second quarter because of raw material price inflation, low demand in mature markets and prolonged production outages, the Netherlands-headquartered chemicals major said on Thursday.

Net income decreased to EUR 268 mln (USD 383 mln) from EUR 273 mln in the same period last year. ⌠The results of the first quarter do not satisfy us at all, CEO Hans Wijers said during the company's earnings press conference.

According to AkzoNobel's report for the second quarter of 2011, raw material costs increased by 20%, which had a major impact on the company's three business areas: decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals.

Wijers said the strong euro against other currencies, volatility in certain end markets - particularly in mature economies - and prolonged production outages have worsened the economic difficulties facing the firm.

As a result, second-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were down by 10%, to EUR 551m from EUR 614m in the previous year's quarter.


Kramski North America Inc. installed new equipmnet

(Plastics Today) -- Metal stamping and overmolding specialist, Kramski North America Inc. (Largo, FL) has installed a new 140-ton Arburg 420C Allrounder to injection mold cases, covers, and buttons for the new RxEnergy NeverDie Series of sterilizable lithium battery packs for use in orthopedic power tools used in surgery. The job is the first of two in the battery market that Kramski recently landed, with both prompting capital investments, according to Glenn Shaw, director of sales.

Kramski is also stamping the beryllium-copper contact terminals for the RxEnergy battery in-house assembling all components of the battery packs, and charging, testing, and bar coding each finished assembly. This battery technology enters the market as a replacement to standard nickel cadmium batteries, with several purported benefits, including lighter weight, longer life, and faster charging.

Kramski supplies molded components and assemblies for the RxEnergy battery systems for use in orthopedic surgical devices.


Petro Rabigh posts USD 107 mln losses

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Rabigh Refining and Petrochemicals Company (Petro Rabigh) posted a $107m loss in the second quarter compared to USD 186.25 mln profits in the first quarter. The first half profits have slashed 25% to USD 78.98 mln compared to USD104.87 mln for the same first half 2010.

The company blamed a two-month closure of its facilties for the loss, as it conducted maintenance work requiring total production shutdown. Closure of the complex for maintenance from April 21 to June 30 hit sales for the comparable period of 2011 hard.

The reason for the loss in the second quarter is the substantial decrease in sales resulting from loss of production during the shutdown period of the complex for test and inspection maintenance," the firm said in a statement.

Operational losses for the second quarter were USD 103.72m, compared to a profit of USD 22.13m in the same quarter last year, it said. Petro Rabigh started operations at its USD 10.1 billion complex in 2009. Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical each have 37.5-percent stakes in the joint venture, while the rest is publicly held.


APEX Petrochemical factory to be shut down forcibly

(Plastemart) -- Governor of Rayong has forcibly shut down the APEX Petrochemical factory in Map Ta Phut industrial zone and declared the surrounding area as a dangerous zone after leaks of a hazardous substance were detected. The plant produces vinyl chloride monomer, which is used to make polymer polyvinyl chloride or PVC.

The Governor led a team of engineers and officials to investigate the premises and has ordered authorities to remove all hazardous substances from the factory.