Moody upgrades Evonik to Baa2 with a positive outlook

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The international rating agency Moody’s has upgraded the credit rating of the German speciality chemicals group Evonik Industries AG from Baa3 with a positive outlook to Baa2 with a positive outlook, reported the company on its site.

The rating agency quotes, among other things, the robust operational performance and the clarity regarding the steps for the real estate disposal as key reasons for the upgrade.

Dr. Wolfgang Colberg, Chief Financial Officer of Evonik Industries, commented: "We are now starting to reap the benefits of our clear focus on specialty chemicals with strong market positions and our consistent financial policy. This also improves our access to debt financing."

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, Evonik Industries plans to expand its capacities for precipitated silicas worldwide by about 30 % by 2014. Besides, Evonik's new polyamide 12 line is planned to be built in Singapore by 2014 to increase the availability of this specialty plastic. The company invested over EUR100m (GBR131m) in a new hydrogen peroxide plant in Jilin, China. The plant is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013 where it will annually produce 230,000 tons of hydrogen peroxide, which is mostly used as a bleaching agent in the textile and pulp industry. As part of the company's strategic portfolio expansion, Evonik plans to launch a new generation of PVC plasticizers. Evonik started construction of the production facilities with the estimated production capacity of 40,000 tpa at the Marl Chemical Park this summer.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In fiscal 2012, the company generated sales of around EUR13.6 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about EUR2.6 billion.

SOCAR to step up investments in Turkey to USD17 bln by 2018

VOSCOW (MRC) -- State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) President Rovnag Abdullayev recently announced his company's goal to become Turkey's largest foreign investor by 2018 with total of USD17 billion in investments, said Turkishpress.

He recalled the company's investments in Turkey's oil refinery, oil and natural gas, petroleum and petrochemicals sectors and noted that SOCAR's investments help strengthen the relationship between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

He added: "Projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway have carried the level of relations between the countries to that of a strategic partnership."

Abdullayev also noted that the strategic relationship gained momentum with the privatization of Turkish petrochemicals giant Petkim, which was won by the joint venture SOCAR & Turcas Energy. He added that bilateral relations will become even stronger with an increase in their investments and with the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP). "We plan to increase our total investment in Turkey to USD17 billion and are proud to share this with the Turkish finance sector. Our projects and investments are the main indicators of our faith in the future of Turkey," he said.

As MRC wrote earlier, construction of a new complex processing oil, gas and petrochemicals in Azerbaijan is the largest project to be implemented in the next few years, not only for the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), but for the whole country.

SOCAR Turkey President Kenan Yavuz also stated that that planned upgrades to Petkim's facilities will make it one of the largest oil refinery centers in Europe. He also noted that 70% of the company's construction of the STAR Refinery, which began in Izmir in October of 2011, has been completed and planning for new investments that will help the two countries cope with increasing energy demands is ongoing.

Linde to build natural gas terminal for Gassco AS in Germany

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The technology company Linde Group has been awarded a contract to build a natural gas terminal in the town of Emden in northern Germany, said Linde in its press release.

The deal is worth around EUR 260 million. The contract was awarded by Norwegian state-owned company Gassco AS on behalf of Gassled joint venture.

"Norway is one of Germany's most important energy suppliers. The new natural gas terminal is a key milestone in securing future supplies of Norwegian gas to Germany," explains Prof. Dr Aldo Belloni, Member of the Executive Board of Linde AG. "We have a wealth of experience in handling natural gas. This project enables us to further promote the use of this environmentally sound fossil fuel."

The new natural gas terminal will replace the 1977 Norsea Gas Terminal, which is currently being operated by Gassco. The terminal will distribute natural gas from Norwegian-owned gas fields in the North Sea to Germany.

The contract covers engineering, procurement and construction for the new terminal. The project is based on the front-end engineering design (FEED) provided by Gassco. The initial work will be carried out by Linde Engineering at the Group's site in Dresden. Construction will get underway in Emden in the autumn of 2013. The facility will be pre-assembled in modules to the greatest possible extent and put together at the construction site. The new natural gas terminal is set to go on stream at the end of 2015.

As MRC wrote earlier, Linde Group has received an engineering contract for the licensing and front end engineering design (FEED) of one of the world"s largest ethylene plants in Tobolsk, Western Siberia. The contract was awarded by Russia"s largest petrochemical company, Sibur LLC.

The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 62,000 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2012 financial year, Linde generated revenue of EUR 15.280 bn. The strategy of the Group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. The company is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.

Ukrainian exports of TiO2 in February increased by 18%

MOSCOW (MRC) - In February, exports of Ukrainian titanium dioxide to foreign markets increased by 1,900 tonnes (up 18%) from January, according to MRC DataScope.

February exports of titanium dioxide made 12,100 tonnes. The first place in February exports took the Crimean Titan with 9,150 tonnes of titanium dioxide up 16% from January. Sumykhimprom has risen its exports by 25% from January to 2,840 tonnes.

Russia remains the leading market for Ukrainian exports of TiO2. In February TiO2 exports to Russia increased by 43% compared with January.

Supply of titanium dioxide to the markets of Germany and Turkey are also growing. Last month export shipments of the material to these countries increased by 17% and 33% from January.

However, export shipments of Ukrainian titanium dioxide in January-February 2013 are still low. In total in January-February exports of titanium dioxide from Ukraine amounted to 22,300 tonnes, which is 5% lower than in 2012 (23,600 tonnes).


Russian producers of PVC in February cut capacity utilization by 2%

MOSCOW (MRC) - The capacity utilization of the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in February fell by 2%. However, the current loading is still quite high. In February, the total output of PVC made 51,500 tonnes, according to MRC ScanPlast.

Capacity utilization of the production of a unmixed PVC (suspension and emulsion PVC) in Russia in February decreased by 2% compared with the January figure. However, the Russian makers of unmixed PVC continue to work at the maximum of their capacity. In February Russian producers loaded their capacities almost by 100%, the only exception was Kaustik (Sterlitamak). The total production of PVC made 49,800 tonnes, where emulsion PVC - 1,900 tonnes. In January this year, the total production of PVC made 56,600 mln tonnes (February's decline was due to the calendar factor), emulsion - 1,900 tonnes.

A leading maker of PVC SayanskKhimPlast last month produced 23,700 tonnes of resin. SayanskKhimPlast's facilities are loaded by almost 100%, at the same time by the end of this year the producer plans to boost production of resin to 280,000 tonnes. In 2012, total production amounted to 273,100 tonnes.

Kaustik (Sterlitamak) in February reduced the capacity utilization by 8% compared with the January. The output of PVC last month was 15,900 tonnes. Kaustik (Volgograd) in February increased by 1% its level of capacity utilization, the output of the resin made 7,400 tonnes.

Sibur-Neftekhim (Sibur Group) in February kept the capacity utilization at the January level. The output of resin was 2,84 tonnes. In July 2012 Sibur began stopping chlorine production at its subsidiary "Caprolactam". The production of PVC is planned to be stopped in April 2013.

In general, in January - February this year, the total volume of PVC in Russia amounted to 106,400 tonnes, while in January - February 2012, the figure was 106,700 tonnes.

The only producer of emulsion PVC in Russia - Khimprom (Volgograd) in February increased capacity utilization by 8%, production of the resin at the plant made 1,900 tonnes. During the first two months of this year, the total volume of emulsion PVC made 3,800 tonnes, an increase of 3% compared to the same period a year ago.