German Reifenhauser posted record sales and earnings in fiscal 2011

(PlastEurope) -- German machinery manufacturer Reifenhauser (Troisdorf) posted record sales and earnings in fiscal 2011 (30 June), its 100th anniversary year. Sales revenue increased by 12% and new order intake surged by more than 50%. Double-digit growth was seen in almost all product groups. While the company did not disclose exact figures, based on the EUR 400m recorded in fiscal 2010, the sales total is likely to exceed EUR 450m. The start to 2011/2012 was also ⌠positive.

CEO Ulrich Reifenhauser described the financial results as ⌠pleasing, especially after the ⌠difficult 2008/2009. ⌠We wanted to emerge from the crisis stronger than before, and there is no doubt that we have accomplished this goal, he said, adding that the machinery group's flexibility to respond to specific market situations and the product-oriented approach of its independent subsidiaries have proven ⌠very successful.

Over the past fiscal year, Reifenhauser said the group has won ⌠numerous contracts in emerging markets, especially in India, where a rapidly growing middle class portends double-digit growth rates for the flexible packaging market. In particular, the country's burgeoning demand for film products has led to a ⌠significant increase in orders for plant and equipment to manufacture barrier films. Cast films are also increasingly in demand, especially as regards PP film of various types.

The German group sees itself as ⌠well positioned to handle a higher volume of orders from the Indian market. It already has a presence in the country with subsidiary India Marketing Ltd, which employs 70 people in Mumbai and at seven additional locations.


PX and OX supply expected to tighten in Asia

(ICIS) -- Players in the paraxylene (PX) and orthoxylene (OX) markets in Asia are bracing themselves for tight suppy in 2012 amid the bleak economic outlook, as the eurozone continues to struggle with its debt crisis, sources said. A deluge of new purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants in China is likely to tip the market in favour of sellers, players said. PTA facilities with a combined capacity of over 9m tonnes/year are expected to commence commercial operations in 2012, while 1.45m tonnes/year of fresh PX capacities is expected within the same period. For every tonne of PTA produced, 0.67 tonnes of PX is needed.

The PX supply shortage is expected to spill over into the OX market, as regional makers are likely to tilt production yields in favour of PX. OX is typically a by-product during the PX extraction process and can be re-isomerised to maximise PX yields.

Key OX makers, such as South Korea's KP Chemical and Taiwan's Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp (FCFC), kept the operating rates at their OX facilities low in October-December 2011 in favour of PX production.

KP Chemical operates two OX lines at Ulsan with a combined capacity of 230,000 tonnes/year, while FCFC runs three facilities at Mailiao that can produce a total of 475,000 tonnes of OX per annum.

Plans by Iran's Petrochemical Commercial Company (PCC) to cut its OX exports by more than half in 2012 are also expected to exacerbate the supply tightness.

Meanwhile, PX supply for term shipments is already starting to tighten as PTA makers were heard trying to secure sufficient quantities of term shipments for 2012. Term contracts for 2012 delivery were heard concluded at premiums to published prices, underscoring the expected tight supply.


US butadiene producer nominated a 7 cent/lb increase for January

(ICIS) -- A US butadiene (BD) producer on Thursday nominated a 7 cent/lb (USD154/tonne, EUR119/tonne) increase for January, an initiative that puts its BD contracts at USD1.05/lb next month. The proposed increase comes as BD prices in other regions are showing signs of strengthening. The European BD contract price for January was agreed on Thursday at EUR1,700/tonne (USD2,208/tonne), rising by EUR50/tonne from December.

The increase in Europe followed expectations of improved demand amid supply constraints because of ongoing ethylene-driven cracker reductions. The outcome of the January settlement in the US will depend on nominations by three other producers in the coming days.

The potential increase next month could snap a four-month downtrend in the US BD market, during which contracts fell by 44% because of weaker demand and ample supply.
Most US BD contracts in December settled at 98 cents/lb, down from USD1.75/lb in August.

Despite the sharp decline, market sources have predicted a possible rebound for BD in 2012, citing potential new demand in the tyre sector.

BD prices could also gain support from possible supply constraints, resulting from a series of cracker turnarounds in the US scheduled for the first half of 2012.

US BD producers include ExxonMobil, INEOS, LyondellBasell, Shell and TPC Group.


Braskem to focus on domestic projects in 2012

(Plastemart) -- Brazil's petrochemical major plans to focus on investments in Brazil in 2012, planning to spend around USD5bln on new production capacities in the country, the CEO told local paper Valor Economico.
Projects include a naphtha-based polypropylene (PP) plant at Camacari; a second ethanol-based polyethylene (PE) plant, the company's first green PP unit; and continued work on the Comperjpetrochemical complex in Rio de Janeiro. Braskem expects to invest a total of around USD4 bln in petrochemical plants at Comperj.

However, Braskem continues to eye opportunities in the US. The acquisition of PP assets in the US in 2010 and 2011, has consolidated its leadership in PP. Now Braskem is looking at business in PE. The firm continues to mull the size of the stake to acquire in PetroquimicaSuape polyester and PET resin project currently being built in the northeast by federal energy company Petrobras.


Repsol to invest USD1bln and incorporate reserves and production from 2012

(Repsol) -- Repsol and US oil company SandRidge Energy have reached an agreement for Repsol to buy approximately 1,500 km2 (363,636 net acres) of the Mississippi Lime play, an area rich in gas and light oil. Repsol will invest USD1 billion and will incorporate reserves and production from 2012.

Repsol will participate with a 16% and 25% stake respectively in two areas within the Mississippian Lime deposit, which spans the states of Oklahoma and Kansas in the USA. Repsol's share of production is expected to reach a peak of 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2019.

According to the agreement, Repsol anticipates drilling more than 200 horizontal wells during 2012 and exceed 1,000 wells by 2014, in a fractured carbonate-rich area of 6,900 km2. Repsol will pay USD250 million in cash at closing and the remainder in the form of a drilling carry, expected to be completed in three years, according to current development expectations.

Mississippian Lime has a long production history and proven resources, rich in light oil and gas produced from fractured carbonates. The area, that has been in operation for more than 30 years, has extensive infrastructure which will accelerate the start-up of production and marketing of these hydrocarbons.

The deal is part of Repsol's strategy to diversify its portfolio into OECD countries. The company is developing in the United States various key projects contained in its Horizon 2014 strategic plan, including exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Repsol also has activities in Alaska, and an LNG import terminal on the Canadian-US border.