Asian ACN makers cut production in the hope of halting decreased prices

(ICIS) -- Acrylonitrile (ACN) makers in Asia have cut production in the hope of halting an unabated decline of product prices that is now on its sixth month, industry sources said on Monday. Spot ACN prices have tumbled by more than $1,000/tonne (┬720/tonne) from early May to $1,700-1,750/tonne CFR (cost and freight) northeast (NE) Asia in the week ended 21 October, ICIS data showed.

Regional ACN producers such as Asahi Kasei in Japan, Tongsuh Petrochemical in South Korea and Formosa Plastics Corp in Taiwan are currently running their plants at about 80% of capacity, industry sources said. ⌠We will continue to run at about 80% of our total production capacities at our plants in Japan and South Korea until demand recovers, said a company source at Asahi Kasei.

Asahi Kasei can produce a total of 765,000 tonnes/year of ACN at its plants in South Korea and Japan. Its fully-owned subsidiary, Tongsuh Petrochemical has an ACN capacity of 315,000 tonne/year at Ulsan in South Korea, while its other two plants at Kawasaki and Mizushima in Japan have a combined capacity of 450,000 tonnes/year.

In China, Jilin Petrochemical has shut down two lines in Jilin that each have 106,000 tonne/year capacity. One line was shut in early October, with no firm date when the unit will resume production, a source at the company said. The other line has been shut since April. Jilin has two other ACN lines, each with a capacity of 120,000 tonnes/year at the same site, that are running at normal rates.

In Taiwan, China Petrochemical Development Corp (CPDC) has brought forward a 40-day turnaround at one of its two ACN lines in Kaohsiung to early October from its original date in November because of the current weak prices, a company source said.


Cytec to get value from its underperforming coating resins business

(ICIS) -- Cytec is looking at ⌠all options to get value from its underperforming coating resins business, including a possible divestment, the CEO of the US-based specialty chemicals firm said on Friday. Cytec's coating resins business is seeing a slowdown in demand in a number of its markets, particularly in Europe, its largest market, chief executive Shane Fleming said. ⌠We are currently reviewing all options for this business, Fleming told analysts during Cytec's third-quarter results conference call.

Fleming would not rule out a divestiture. Other options may include shutting down portions of the business. However, given that the various segments of Cytec's coating resins business share equipment, it would be challenging to ⌠disentangle the assets, he said.

In a step to improve the business, Cytec is closing its powder coating manufacturing site in Brazil, Fleming added. While Brazil remains an important growth market, Cytec did not benefit from having local production there, he said.


INEOS's third-quarter EBITDA fell 20% year on year

(ICIS) -- INEOS's third-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 20% year on year to ┬371m ($515m), partly because of a softening in demand from the weakening economy, the Swiss-headquartered company said on Monday. INEOS also noted that results represented EBITDA for its chemicals businesses after the recent disposal of its European refining business.

In July this year, Chinese state-owned PetroChina completed its $1bn purchase of a 50% stake in UK-based INEOS's European refining operations, which included the group's refineries in Grangemouth, Scotland, and Lavera, France.

⌠Global economic and political turbulence has created hesitancy in many markets, leading to a softening in demand in a number of sectors towards the end of the third quarter, INEOS added.
Compared with ┬576m reported in the second quarter of 2011, the company's EBITDA fell by 36%.

The group's chemical intermediates segment reported EBITDA of ┬165m in the third quarter, down 34% year on year. It said demand for phenol and acetone has been solid in a structurally tight market, while demand for oligomers remained good across most sectors, particularly for speciality grades.

Its Olefins & Polymers Europe business reported EBITDA of ┬80m, compared with ┬95m in the third-quarter of 2010. INEOS said that demand for olefins in the quarter continued to be strong, resulting in high cracker utilisation rates.


PET imports to Russia in September hit a record low

(MRC) -- In September PET imports to Russia declined by 40% and made about 8,000 tonnes. It is a record minimum not only for this year - similar small amount of granulates import was last observed in September 2002, according to MRC DataScope.

Imports was expected to reduce at the end of the third quarter due to the situation in the domestic market. However, market participants could not predict such a significant decline. Volumes contracted from the largest Russian producers of PET performs cut nearly by twice compared to August.

Decline in imports to Russia was observed in the products from the South Korean KP Chemical and SK Chemicals.

The ruble devaluation having started in early August and growing price quotations of PET in Asia also had an impact on decrease of supply. As a result, the Russian producers offered better prices for the domestic market in contrast to the Asian producers.

In September, some Russian producers of PET reported a slight increase in buying activity of some converters on the back of trade reorientation at the domestic feedstock. However, significant products remnants and off-season kept from boosting significant changes in the market.

While import is falling to record lows, export of granulates has shown a record growth. In September, exports of domestic PET increased by 6,000 tonnes and made about 16,500 tonnes, which is the maximum value of shipments to the foreign markets in the history of PET production in Russia.


Biofront film and sheet exhibit high transmission properties due to unique crystalline structure

(Plastemart) -- Film and sheet versions of its BIOFRONT highly heat-resistant bioplastic, which already is available as fiber and resin, developed by Teijin Limited opens up many new possibilities for this versatile, plant-based, high-performance bioplastic. BIOFRONT film and sheet exhibit high transmission properties due to a unique stereocomplex crystalline structure achieved with high-purity L-lactate and D-lactate polymer made from renewable plant resources. These film and sheet can be used for a wide range of applications, including packaging and printing substrate requiring high transmission and strength; optical film requiring high transmission, low heat-shrinkage and optical isotropy (uniform properties in all directions); white reflective film and printing substrate requiring strong light scattering; transparent substrate, decorative film, insert molding and blister packaging requiring high transparency and non-crystalline properties.