A fire at Formosa Petrochemicals Corp's synthetic paper plant

(plastemart) -- A fire engulfed a synthetic paper plant owned by a group company of Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemicals Corp, as per Reuter. The fire broke out at the plant in southern Taiwan run by Nan Ya Plastics early on Sunday and was not extinguished as of 0900 GMT. Though there are no casualties, but it is too early to assess the damage.

The fire follows two fires in a month in July at Formosa's Mailiao oil refinery, for which it was fined US$31,000 and ordered to close the refinery for a time.


Mitsubishi plans first PET film plant in China

(prw.com) -- Mitsubishi Plastics plans to open a PET film plant in China, its first in the country, prompted by growing demand in the flat panel display market for television screens and computer monitors.

The CNY24bn yen (┬2.6bn) facility in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, will start operating in April 2013, with a single line with capacity of 22,500 tonnes, the company said in a 29 September announcement.

MPI, based in Tokyo, plans to add a second line in April 2015 and double capacity to 45,000 tonnes.

The company has been rapidly expanding its capacity for PET film for that market this year, with the announcement in March that it had completed an 80,000 tonne PET film facility in Santo, Japan, which it said is the largest single facility in the world.

The flat panel display market is "likely to have steady growth" as new plants for liquid crystal screen manufacturers are expected to come on-stream in 2012, Mitsubishi said.

The China capacity will be new capacity and not shift manufacturing from other locations, a company spokesman said.

When the Suzhou plant starts operating, Mitsubishi said its lines are expected to be the largest single lines for optical PET film in the world. The firm said it expects to formally open a sales and service subsidiary in Suzhou in January 2011.

In its March announcement about the Santo plant, the company said that demand for optical-grade PET film started recovering from the global financial crisis in spring 2009, and it said supplies were tight.

The Suzhou plant is expected to have annual sales of CNY20bn (┬2.2bn) when fully operational.


Noticeable increases in Asian spot styrene prices

(Plastemart) -- In Asia, spot styrene prices recorded noticeable increases over the past week, moving up by over US$50/ton in a week's time, gaining support from the higher energy prices as well as the planned maintenance shutdowns in the region, as per Chemorbis. The spot styrene market sees support from the higher energy costs as oil prices moved above the US$80/bbl on October 1st. Meanwhile, ahead of the week long Chinese National Day holiday, which officially started at the end of last week, some short covering activities were reported. Plus, styrene shutdowns are affecting availability in the region.

Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp.'s 600,000 tpa styrene plant in Taiwan has been shut since end of August. Idemitsu Kosan's 340,000 tpa styrene plant in Japan was shut between 29 August and 3 October for maintenance. Taiyo's plant in Japan with 370,000 tpa capacity was shut in end August. These plants were originally planned to be restarted around this week although no confirmation was received from the companies regarding the issue at the time of publishing.

Meanwhile, Chiba SM will conduct a maintenance shutdown at it's 270,000 tpa styrene plant in Japan, from H2-October. The shutdown is expected to last for about a month and the company has been running their plant at around 85% capacity since the 15th of September.


UAE to fight back EU decision to impose new customs duties

(Plastemart) -- The UAE has decided to fight back against the EU decision to impose new customs duties on the country's plastics exports on the grounds the move has no justification. The decision means Polyethylene Terephthalate from the UAE, Iran and Pakistan will face EU import duties of ┬44.02, ┬139.70 and ┬42.34 per ton until 2015. The Ministry of Economy rebuffed EU claims that it is subsidising its plastics production and threatened to take the issue to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In another statement, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said the country has the right to defend itself against that decision since there was no reason for a new tariff by the EU. The Ministry will ask the EU Commission, in accordance with WTO agreements, to open an interim review to ascertain the absence of any subsidy on its plastics production, which removes a main element for the continuation of such duties.

The EU is the GCC's top economic partner, with their two way trade rising to nearly US$132.5 billion in 2007 from US$110 billion in 2006 and US$107 billion in 2005. But the surplus has remained largely in favour of the EU due to a sharp growth in its exports to the Gulf region and the fact that the GCC's exports to the European markets are confined to oil, gas, petrochemicals and aluminium.


Gurit wins major wind energy contract in Europe

(prw) -- Composites materials specialist Gurit has won its first contract for a wind turbine blade mould to be delivered to a customer in Europe from its Red Maple tooling operation in China.

According to the company, this European order is another important achievement in the context of Gurit's global tooling strategy, following shipments of several blade moulds to European-controlled customers in China as well as the delivery of moulds to two customers in India this year.

⌠The rising interest from international customers in our tooling offering is very encouraging, said Rudolf Hadorn, CEO of Gurit.