LANXESS opens first production facility in Russia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German specialty chemicals company LANXESS celebrated the opening of its first production facility in Russia, said LANXESS in its press-release.

In the new plant at the Lipetsk site, LANXESS subsidiary Rhein Chemie manufactures polymer-bound rubber additives for the markets in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), primarily for the automotive and tire industries. A production facility for the bladders used in tire production is to be added in 2016. The overall investment volume in euros amounts to a seven-digit figure and 40 new jobs will be created at the new plant in the medium term.

Lipetsk offers outstanding conditions for the group. "Its excellent location in close proximity to our customers and the good infrastructure in the Lipetsk Industrial Park were crucial to our decision to choose the site," says Anno Borkowsky, Managing Director of Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH. Every year, the company will produce up to 1,500 metric tons of predispersed, polymer-bound Rhenogran rubber additives at the plant in Lipetsk. Rhein Chemie is a leading supplier for these products, which are used primarily in the manufacture of car tires and technical elastomer products such as profiles, hoses and seals. They are easy to handle and enable faster processing in the rubber compound. Using Rhenogran also significantly increases the quality of rubber components and improves their long-term functionality and durability.

A facility capable of producing up to 80,000 Rhenoshape bladders annually is to be added to the complex in 2016. Bladders are used in the tire industry to give tires their final form and properties. "We are seeing a rise in demand from the Russian automotive and tire industries for quality products and, thanks to our new plant and high-quality, innovative product portfolio, we can now cater to their needs directly from Russia," comments Borkowsky.

LANXESS has had its own company in Russia since 2009. During this time, business has developed strongly. In 2012, LANXESS achieved sales of approximately EUR 80 million on the Russian market, around four times as much as in 2009.

As MRC wrote before, LANXESS has inaugurated its new butyl rubber plant on Jurong Island in Singapore on schedule. The specialty chemicals company has invested approximately EUR 400 million in the plant, which will have a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year. The plant will create about 160 highly qualified new jobs that will mainly be filled locally. The facility is the most modern of its kind in Asia and will produce premium halobutyl rubber, as well as regular butyl rubber.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 9.1 billion in 2012. The company is currently represented at 50 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. The Butyl Rubber business unit is part of LANXESS’ Performance Polymers segment, which recorded sales of EUR 5.2 billion in 2012.MRC

Huhtamaki to close foodservice plant in Norway

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Plastics packaging group Huhtamaki is planning to close a plant in Norway as part of measures to improve the competitiveness of its Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania business segment, said Plasticsnews.

The Finland-headquartered group said it is planning to close the plant in Viul in the third quarter, affecting 55 people. The plant produces the company’s Chinet range of plates and bowls for the European market, and this production will be transferred to other group facilities.

Huhtamaki’s sales, customer service and warehousing functions in Norway will be retained.

In another measure, Huhtamaki is reorganising its foodservice plastics unit in Alf, Germany, to improve the segment's competitiveness in serving its core quick service, catering and vending customers.

The company said: "The unit will have a growing importance in supporting the group's core foodservice range of paper articles with complementary plastic items. The reorganization will result in certain asset write-offs and it is expected to affect some employees."

These two measures will lead to a one-time financial charge of approximately €8m which will be booked during 2013 in the Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania business segment. They will also result in savings of approximately €4m in 2014.

Huhtamaki added that it has started a strategic review of its foodservice plastics unit in Italy, which it says is currently making losses.

As MRC wrote before, Huhtamaki, the Finnish-based consumer packaging specialist with worldwide operations, will build a moulded fibre egg packaging unit adjacent to its existing packaging facility in the greater Moscow area.
The new unit will concentrate on a narrow range of high-volume premium egg packaging, with complementary products sourced from other Huhtamaki units and technology licensees. This supply network enables the company to start sales and deliveries while the new unit is still under construction. The company already has a specialised fresh foods sales force in Russia.

Borealis invests additional 65 million Euros in its Porvoo plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Austrian Borealis is investing this year total of 90 million Euros in its Porvoo polyethylene plant, said Goodnewsfinland.

Borealis, the company in fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers, is investing 65 million Euros in upgrading its Borstar PE2 plant in Porvoo, Finland. The major project will upgrade the Borstar PE2 plant technology to the third generation and extend its platform. The Austrian company announced earlier this year that it was investing 25 million Euros in Porvoo plant to install new hot oil heater unit at the phenol complex.

According to Borealis, this latest investment in Porvoo will significantly enhance the location's standing as a hub for catalyst and process research, up-scaling and demonstration. Borealis has six production plants in Porvoo as well as one of its innovation centres. The other innovation centres are located in Austria and Sweden.

The Porvoo upgrade project is a sign of our commitment to further developing our propriatory Borstar technology. It signals our dedication to European locations as well as the markets and customers they serve, says Mark Garrett, Borealis Chief Executive.

Borealis states that Porvoo benefits from the close proximity to the Nordic market, and it is well positioned to serve the Russian and Eastern European industrial markets.

As MRC wrote before, Borealis announced thar it closed an agreement with TOTAL to acquire its majority interest of 56.86% in Rosier SA. Rosier - is a mineral fertilizer manufacturer with two production facilities (Moustier in Belgium and Sas van Gent in the Netherlands) and markets its products in more than 80 countries worldwide. Rosier generated sales of EUR278 million in 2012.

Unipetrol scraps plans to sell Paramo

MOSCOW (MRC) - Czech downstream oil group Unipetrol has abandoned plans to sell its lubricants maker Paramo, said Reuters, citing the company's supervisory board chief Dariusz Jacek Krawiec.

"We do not want to sell it any more, although we were considering it in the past," daily Hospodarske Noviny quoted Dariusz Jacek Krawiec, also general director at Unipetrol owner PKN Orlen, as saying.

Unipetrol had planned to sell the business this year, after closing its refinery operations last year.

Krawiec also said the Polish company would be interested in further acquisitions on the Czech market if there were any, such as a potential privatisation of state pipeline company Cepro.

PKN Orlen plans to propose to the Czech government several options for cooperation, Krawiec said.

He said he "could not rule out" a scenario in which Unipetrol could increase its 51.2 percent stake in refinery Ceska Rafinerska if one of the minority shareholders - Royal Dutch/Shell and Italy's ENI - decides to sell. It could then swap that stake for a share in Cepro.

As MRC wrote before, Czech downstream oil group Unipetrol plans to invest 19 billion crowns (USD976 million) over the next five years under a new strategy to help it return to profit. By 2017, Unipetrol wants to have increased the capacity utilisation of its petrochemical steam cracker unit by 13 percentage points and increase sales of petrochemical products by 11%, to 1.4 million tonnes.

Unipetrol , a.s. is a group of companies operating in the petrochemical industry in the Czech Republic. In 2005 Unipetrol became a part of the PKN ORLEN Group, the largest oil processor in Central Europe. The UNIPETROL Group is oriented mostly towards oil processing, fuel distribution and petrochemical production. In all of these business areas the Unipetrol Group is among the key players both in the Czech Republic and on the Central European market. The Group ranks among the leading firms in the Czech Republic in terms of its revenues, and employs almost 4,000 people.

BASF, Linde, ThyssenKrupp to develop technology for syngas from CO2

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF, The Linde Group and ThyssenKrupp plan to develop an environmentally-friendly and competitive to utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce syngas on an industrial scale, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

They aim to employ innovative process technology to use carbon dioxide as a raw material, with positive effects on climate protection.

Together with BASF's subsidiary hte AG and scientific partners VDEh-Betriebsforschungsinstitut, Dusseldorf, and TU Dortmund University, the companies are developing a two-stage process.

In the first step, an innovative high-temperature technology will process natural gas to obtain hydrogen and carbon. Compared to other processes, this technology produces very little CO2.

The hydrogen is then reacted with large volumes of CO2, also from other industrial processes, to give syngas.

A mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, syngas is a key raw material for the chemical industry and is also suitable for producing fuels. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is subsidizing the project, which started on July 1, 2013, and is expected to last three years.

"Methane decomposition complements our existing technology portfolio as well as our hydrogen, CO2 and syngas businesses," said Dr. Harald Ranke, head of clean energy technology at Linde.

"Compared to standard procedures of hydrogen generation, this new technology stands out for its higher efficiency and for reducing CO2 emissions by half," he added. "We figure that customers from both the industrial and the hydrogen mobility sector might benefit from this."

As MRC wrote before, BASF successfully completed the second phase of registration for REACH under EU chemical law. REACH stands for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals and represents a fundamental reorganization of chemical law in Europe.

BASF is the largest diversified chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries. BASF had sales of EUR72.1 billion in 2012.MRC