Upward rally in European polymer markets maintains strength

(nctww) -- This month, European PP, PE and PS suppliers were able to pass their initial hike targets for the most part, which were in excess of the rise in the February monomer contract prices. Restricted supplies on the producers' side, along with strong upstream costs, which continued to rise this month, helped sellers have an upper hand in negotiations during the month.

Feedstock costs remain firm and spot monomer prices are standing at noticeably higher levels compared to the start of February, signaling a renewed upward rally in March.

Although there is active buying interest from buyers, many sellers are reluctant to give offers for high volumes these days, claiming to have restricted quantities. According to buyers' reports, some suppliers are refusing to give additional volumes while some are asking for further price hikes on top of their initial February prices.

⌠Suppliers are implementing further increases on their prices due to widespread expectations of new price hikes in March. Last week we purchased only 1 cargo of additional PP quantities paying EUR40/ton higher prices compared to the beginning of the month. Supply is apparently tight because we were not able to get more than 1 cargo from the West European supplier, a compounder told.

⌠After concluding our PP agreements paying three-digit price hikes, we asked the producers for 200 tons extra, but the suppliers refused to sell these quantities, another converter producing food containers stated.MRC

SK Group and Sinopec JV to produce synthetic fiber precursor

(privateequitykorea) -- SK Group will be setting up a USD588 million joint venture with China's state oil firm Sinopec. The new venture will e led by unlisted SK subsidiary SK Global Chemical and will produce butanediol, a synthetic fiber precursor. The butanediol JV is a part of a Sinopec petrochemical complex in which BP is also participating. Last year SK also started another JV with Sinopec to produce ethylene.

China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) is a super-large petroleum and petrochemical enterprise group established in July 1998 on the basis of the former China Petrochemical Corporation. Sinopec Group is a state-owned company solely invested by the State, functioning as a state-authorized investment organization in which the state holds the controlling share. Headquartered in Beijing, Sinopec Group has a registered capital of RMB 182 billion.

Lanxess to invest in BioAmber

(kunststoffe) -- Lanxess AG, Leverkusen, is strengthening its commitment to renewable raw materials by investing USD 10 million in U.S. company BioAmber, Inc., based in Minneapolis, MI, as part of a private placement.

BioAmber is a global leader in succinic acid produced from renewable resources such as corn. Together, the two companies have developed plasticizers, whose cost-effectiveness and safety profile make them sustainable alternatives to phthalate-containing formulations. Market entry is expected later this year. In addition, both companies are in talks to extend their partnership into further product areas in the future.

As part of the investment, Lanxess has received a minority shareholding in BioAmber and a seat on the Board of Directors, which will be filled by Jorge Nogueira, head of Lanxess' Functional Chemicals business unit that manufactures phthalate-free plasticizers. BioAmber was founded in October 2008 and has 40 full-time employees.


BASF increases prices for ethanolamines in Europe

(basf) -- German chemicals company BASF SE is increasing the prices of ethanolamines in Europe by EUR70 to EUR90 a metric ton because of higher raw material costs, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The increase comes on top of a EUR60 a ton hike in January, and a EUR50 rise in December, bringing the total increase to EUR180-EUR200 a ton over the past three months.

BASF said Wednesday the price of monoethanolamine will rise by EUR70 a ton, and the prices for diethanolamine and triethanolamine by EUR90 a ton. "There are various reasons, but primarily the increase is due to higher raw material costs," the spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.

The price hike will affect all new contracts in Europe. "The price increase will also apply to current supply agreements as soon as, and to the extent, permitted by their terms and conditions," BASF said in a statement. Ethanolamines are used in the manufacture of agrochemicals, wood protectants, cleaning products, process chemicals, lubricants and cement additives, as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients.


Bayer MaterialScience wins approval to build German TDI plant

(bayer) -- Bayer MaterialScience can begin construction in Dormagen of a new world-scale plant for a key plastics precursor. The Cologne regional administration has now granted the permit for an early start to construction, clearing the way for the extensive construction work to begin promptly.

The final operating permit is expected in the spring. Plans call for the construction of a EUR 150 million high-tech plant in Dormagen for the particularly ecological production of the chemical TDI (toluene diisocyanate), which is required for flexible polyurethane foam.

"We are pleased that the construction for this important project can now begin and be completed within the next two years as planned," says Dr. Joachim Wolff, head of the polyurethanes business and member of the Executive Committee of Bayer MaterialScience. "With an annual capacity of 300,000 metric tons, the future world-scale plant is the final building block of a long-term investment strategy in Dormagen in addition to being a key element for optimizing our isocyanate production in Europe."

In the medium term, it will replace the existing plants for the production of TDI in Dormagen and Brunsbuttel. Bayer MaterialScience expects demand for this precursor for flexible polyurethane foams to continue to grow.