Clariant signs agreement with Connell Brothers for Australian distribution of additives

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a leading specialty chemical company, has announced that it signed a distribution agreement with Connell Brothers, the largest marketer and distributor of specialty chemicals and industrial ingredients in Asia Pacific, to market and distribute ingredients from Clariant’s Business Unit (BU) Additives to all states in Australia, according to the company's press release.

The agreement was effective as of May 1, 2013.

Darren Soo, Head of Sales, ASEAN, BU Additives Clariant said, "We believe that Connell Brothers will be able to offer the highest level of professionalism and an exceptional level of service. Their capabilities and full market coverage will enhance and further develop this important sector of the Clariant business."

As MRC reported earlier, in June 2013, Clariant introduced AddWorks, its new brand for polymer additives solutions. It consists of: AddWorks, application oriented solutions specifically designed by segments of the plastics industry
AddWorks LXR, a new range of polymer additives designed to provide particular effects in a wide variety of applications. AddWorks are developed by matching the needs of companies engineering technologies for polymerization, polymer producers, compounders, and even converters.

Clariant’s Business Unit Additives is a major supplier of products for functional effects in plastics, coatings and printing inks. Its non-halogenated flame retardants provide environmentally compatible protection for buildings, electric and electronic equipment as well as textiles and other materials used in airplanes, trains, buses and ships. Clariant’s high quality waxes are used in protective coatings, plastics, polishes and in a range of highly specialized applications like hot melts. It also produces polymer additives such as antioxidants, processing/ light stabilizers, and antistatic agents to give plastics flexibility and durability, or to improve the heat, light and weather resistance of coatings.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.

Petrobras restructures its petrochemical portfolio

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petrobras, Brazilian state-run energy giant, has announced that its Board of Directors approved the restructuring of its petrochemical portfolio and the subsequent merger of its wholly-owned subsidiaries Comperj Participacoes, Comperj Estirenicos, Comperj MEG. and Comperj Poliolefinas, reported the company on its site.

The referred transactions will be submitted to a vote by shareholders in a Special Shareholders Meeting to be convened in due time.

The merger of Petrobras' affiliates is primarily designed to streamline the company’s corporate structure and restructure its petrochemical portfolio, since the transaction will lead to the consolidation of the petrochemical assets held by Petrobra and invested in Comperj Participacoes, Comperj Estirenicos, Comperj MEG and Comperj Poliolefinas, resulting in lower management costs, improved streamlining and alignment of business decisions, rationalization of the company’s activities and the simplification of procedures that reallocate investment resources.

Since it involves the merger of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Petrobras’ capital will not increase and no new shares will be issued.

We remind that, as MRC wrote earlier, Brazilian environmental regulators will join Petrobras in appealing an injunction that halted work on a major USD8 billion Comperj refinery project in Rio de Janeiro state. The suspension stems from a case brought by federal prosecutors in 2008 that regulators thought had been resolved in 2009. The Comperj refinery will have installed capacity to process 165,000 barrels of crude oil per day when it enters operation in April 2015. A second phase, expected to be completed by 2018, would double capacity.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. or Petrobras is a semi-public Brazilian multinational energy corporation headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is the largest company in the Southern Hemisphere by market capitalization and the largest in Latin America measured by 2011 revenues.

Borealis and Borouge roll-out Borlink in Russia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Borealis and Borouge, the world's leading providers of innovative, value-creating solutions for the wire and cable industry, has announced the dedicated roll-out of the technology platform Borlink in Russia, according to the company's press release.

Borlink was introduced by Borealis and Borouge as a technology platform offering a complete global package of power cable compounds and expertise serving applications for medium and high voltage (MV, HV), including extra high voltage (EHV) and high voltage direct current (HVDC).

Key innovations of Borlink include a tailor-made high pressure (HP) process for the production of high purity low density polyethylene (LDPE) base polymers with superior electrical properties and the introduction of a closed or controlled loop (from monomer to final packaging) which avoids contaminants and ensures homogenous and high-quality, clean compounds.

The Borlink technology is a step change innovation in the power cable industry and serves as a platform for Borealis and Borouge to work together with the entire energy infrastructure value chain to establish innovative solutions that address the challenges of an increasingly connected world.

The dedicated Borlink roll-out in Russia underscores Borealis' long-term commitment to the Russian wire and cable industry. By working together with Borealis, wire and cable producers in Russia have access to high-quality, reliable and innovative power cable solutions in order to meet rising demand for electricity, and to facilitate rapid infrastructure growth.

"Russia remains one of the most attractive growth markets in Europe," says Gilles Rochas, Borealis Vice President for Energy & Infrastructure. "Our long-term commitment to the Russian wire and cable industry through our investment in innovation, resources and capacity is in fact an investment in the future. Borealis consistently offers the most reliable and innovative solutions that enable Russia's wire and cable industry to produce quality cables in accordance with the highest global industry standards, yet with maximum efficiency."

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, Borealis and Borouge have recently introduced a new grade of polypropylene (PP) specified for use in lightweight bumper applications for two new Renault automotive platforms.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. Borealis is headquartered in Vienna, Austria, and operates in over 120 countries with around 5,300 employees worldwide, generating EUR7.5 billion in sales revenue in 2012.

Saudi Arabia, UAE to drive polypropylene resin sector

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The total polypropylene resin market for local conversion in the GCC is expected to reach 1.366 billion in 2016 on the back of strong government support, said Menafn.

GCC governments' focus on diversification to generate employment and reduce reliance on the oil and gas sector presents a conducive regulatory environment for growth in the downstream polypropylene industry.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in particular, are anticipated to lead the pack towards downstream diversification.

In the GCC, strong governmental support has contributed to the development of polypropylene downstream industries. The growth of downstream applications such as films, non-wovens and geotextiles is expected to bolster polypropylene demand in GCC countries, which have long been a net exporter of polypropylene due to minimum local use.

The report finds that the total polypropylene resin market for local conversion in the GCC earned revenues of 983.1 million in 2011 and estimates this to reach 1.366 billion in 2016.

The key end-user segments covered in this research are bi-axially-oriented polypropylene films, casted polypropylene films, carpet yarns, nonwovens, geotextiles, woven bags, injection molding grade and polypropylene in tje automotive sector.

While companies in the region have been successful in developing world-scale petrochemical complexes, they lack the indigenous technologies required for certain downstream polypropylene products. This challenge is intensified by the nascent stage of research and development activities in the region.

As MRC wrote before, the petrochemical production by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) comprising of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman has risen by 5.5% in 2012.

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was formed in 1981 to create economic, scientific and business cooperation among its oil-exporting members. These Middle East countries share the common faith of Islam, an Arabian culture, and an economic interest separate from OPEC. On a per capita basis, they are among the richest countries in the world. The Gulf Cooperatoin Council headquarters is in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, its largest member. Together, they supply one third of U.S. oil and own up to USD225 billion of U.S. debt. These countries are seeking to diversify their rapidly growing economies away from oil.

Asian players complain of tight LDPE supply

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Players in both China and Southeast Asia have voiced their concerns over tightness in LDPE supplies in the region, said Apic-online.

Iranian LDPE is said to be limited in China while a Thai producer has had to implement an extended shutdown at one of their LDPE plants following a technical issue. Short supply along with firmer energy markets has persuaded a few overseas producers to announce higher LDPE film prices to the region for August.

"We are hesitant to sell even after our price hikes as several shutdowns in China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East will keep LDPE supplies tight in the coming month. We have also heard that there are smaller amounts of Iranian LDPE coming to China now and we believe that LDPE supply is tighter than that for any other polymer," a producer source reported. According to data from Chinese Customs, Iran has been the largest exporter of LDPE to China through the first five months of 2013, exporting 157,280 tons of material to the country, more than twice as much as South Korea, China’s next largest supplier.

A trader based in Shanghai commented that LDPE film is gaining ground relative to other PE products because of supply concerns, which they attributed to the shutdown of PTT’s 300,000 tons/year LDPE plant in Thailand along with reduced working hours in the Middle East because of the Ramadan month.

Players in Southeast Asia also complained of short LDPE supplies in the region. A trader active in the region said that they believe that LDPE prices will be firm relative to LLDPE and HDPE as the market is not facing any new LDPE capacities while new HDPE and LLDPE capacities are set to come on-line in the days ahead. A Thai distributor stated, “PTT’s shutdown at their 300,000 tons/year LDPE plant may take around three months to resolve. In the meantime, TPI Polene will be the only domestic LDPE supplier and local prices have already started to rise in response to buyers’ worries about securing adequate supplies." A trader based in Vietnam said that they received an import LDPE film price from Thailand which they found to be too high to accept. "Southeast Asian suppliers are asking for hikes after PTT’s shutdown but we do not find their prices to be acceptable and we are now looking for some Middle Eastern cargoes already on the water as we wish to minimize the risk of accepting materials with long transit times," the trader said.

A shrink film manufacturer in Vietnam complained that they have had no choice but to accept higher LDPE film prices in the face of a shortage of available cargoes. "Our supplier will not give us any discounts as they claim that supply is tight while we only buy in small volumes," the buyer said. A converter in Thailand said that they accepted higher prices for import Southeast Asian LDPE film as they were afraid they would not be able to find alternate sources if they did not accept their supplier’s initial price.

As MRC wrote before, the market of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) continues to be oversupplied in the Russia on the back of weak demand. The only exception makes LDPE shrink films, limited supply of which could result in price increase. Two Russian producers - Kazanorgsyntez and Ufaorgsintez have limited their supplies of shrink films. Besides, Kazanorgsyntez announced a price increase of PE 153 by Rb1,000/tonne, effective from 1 July. So, the price of LDPE 153 in the Russian market grew to Rb60,000-61,500/tonne FCA, including VAT.