US ethylene margins rose by 2.7% in the fourth week of August

(ICIS) -- US ethylene margins rose by 2.7% in the fourth week of August, lifted by higher ethylene spot prices and softer production costs, the ICIS margin report showed on Tuesday. Ethylene margins were at 34.27 cents/lb (USD 756/tonne, EUR 522/tonne) for the week ended 26 August, up from 33.36 cents/lb a week earlier, using ethane as a feedstock.

US margins rose as ethylene spot prices climbed by 1% last week on inventory building ahead of upcoming cracker turnarounds, market sources said.

Ethylene for August traded at 62.50-63.25 cents/lb, up from 61.75-62.75 cents/lb during the week that ended on 19 August.

The increase in spot prices was driven by anticipated supply tightness because of scheduled maintenance at four US crackers in September and October.


BASF Venture Capital invests in German biotechnology company

(BASF) -- baseclick GmbH, a spin-off from BASF SE and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munich, raised an additional EUR 1.2 million from private investors and BASF Venture Capital, the largest single investor, in the second round of financing. The start-up company baseclick GmbH, founded in the year 2008, is located in Tutzing, Germany, and holds technology patents in labeling processes of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

⌠We will use the capital raised to expand our existing activities in DNA-technologies, says Dr. Thomas Frischmuth, General Manager of baseclick GmbH. In addition, the company will build up a business for diagnostic technologies.

The baseclick technology is based on click chemistry research by Professor Barry Sharpless (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2001) of The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California. Professor Thomas Carell of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munich, Germany, has advanced the technology so that nucleic acids can be modified.


Lukoil's net income in the first half of 2011 is 69.1% higher y-o-y

(Lukoil) -- Lukoil published consolidated US GAAP financial statements for the second quarter and first half of 2011. The company's net income was USD 6,768 million in the first half of 2011, which is 69.1% higher y-o-y, including USD 3,251 million in the second quarter. EBITDA in the first half of 2011 was USD 10,688 million, which is 43.8% higher y-o-y. Sales revenues were USD 64,538 million (+29.7% y-o-y). Positive dynamics of financial results was mainly due to increase in hydrocarbon prices and refining margin in the first half of 2011 compared to the respective period of 2010.


Corrugated pipe processor ADS to invest in the Midwest

(Plastics Today) -- Only days after it announced it would build a new facility in Iowa, corrugated plastic pipe processor ADS (Hilliard, OH) says it will invest USD 10 million at its facilities in the Midwestern U.S. Operations in North Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa all will benefit from the largess.

As we reported earlier his month, ADS is building a greenfield plastic pipe processing facility in Hampton, Iowa, with that new facility set to be fully operational by the middle of next month. As per ADS company policy, company officials would offer no information on the number of corrugation lines that will be placed in that new facility, or on our question regarding the number of new employees to be hired to work there.

The new USD 10 million investment is in addition to the amount being spent on the new facility in Hampton. "We will continue to invest significant dollars in our facilities to meet the growing demand for our products," commented Joe Chlapaty, chairman and chief executive officer of ADS, in a company statement. ADS is the world's largest processor of corrugated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe.


Evonik Industries is increasing production capabilities of its MMA plants

(Plastemart) -- Evonik Industries, one of the leading suppliers of methacrylate chemistry, is increasing the production capabilities of its Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) plants throughout the world to meet the rising demand. Evonik will increase production capabilities of Methyl Methacrylate through debottlenecking and plant expansion projects in existing plants in Europe (Worms and Wesseling in Germany), Asia (Shanghai in China), and the United States (Fortier) in 2011 and 2012.

Upon completion of the projects Evonik industries will be able to produce approximately 50,000 additional metric tons of MMA. Thomas Muller, Senior Vice President & General Manager Acrylic Monomers, said of the previously announced expansion of the Methyl Methacrylat capacity: "We are reacting timely to support the growth of our customers." Methyl Methacrylate is primarily used for Polymethylmethacrylate resins and surface coatings.