BASF to sell German subsidiary for Wall Systems to Rockwool

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has signed a contract with Rockwool to sell BASF Wall Systems GmbH & Co. KG, reported the company on its site.

The transaction comprises the German wall systems subsidiary including the Marktredwitz site. Currently, about 200 employees are working for the company who will be transferred to the new owner. The purchase is subject to approval by the relevant authorities and legal closing of the transaction is expected by the end of 2013.

"BASF Wall Systems GmbH is a strong and well managed business which will fit well into the ROCKWOOL business. The acquisition enables us to put further weight behind our facade strategy and to get a significant foothold in the important German market for exterior insulation and finishing systems," said Henrik Frank Nielsen, Managing Director of the Rockwool Group’s Europe division.

"Our Wall Systems business in Germany posted significant growth over the last few years. Nevertheless, there are only limited synergies with other BASF fields of activity," said Dr. Tilman Krauch, President of BASF’s Construction Chemicals division.

The insulating materials Neopor, Styropor, Styrodur as well as insulating materials made of polyurethane are not affected by the planned divestiture. They remain integral parts of the BASF portfolio that contribute to the construction of energy-efficient buildings.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, BASF is planning to sell its Conica Sports Surfaces business area. The intention is to divest the site at Schaffhausen (Switzerland) along with the business in order to create the conditions for the retention of jobs. Furthermore, production and production-related services will be transferred to another BASF site. The Conica Sports Surfaces business area includes the development, production and marketing of surface systems for running tracks, gymnasia, tennis courts and playgrounds as well as solutions for artificial turf and molding binders.

BASF Wall Systems GmbH & Co. KG is a successful, medium-sized supplier of insulation and finishing systems in the German market. The company’s main field of business is systems for the exterior and interior thermal insulation of buildings that are sold under the Heck brand. In addition, the company offers renovation and restoration systems for historical buildings under the Rajasil brand. In 2012 the company generated sales in the mid double-digit million euro range.

The Rockwool Group is the world’s leading supplier of innovative products and systems based on stone wool, especially for the insulation of residential and non-residential buildings. The Group’s head office is located in Hedehusene close to Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2012 the Group generated sales EUR1.97 billion and employed close to 10,000 employees. The company is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Nordic Exchange Copenhagen.

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.

VEKA to invest USD6 mln in expension of its US plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Germany-based VEKA, Inc., a manufacturer of vinyl windows and doors, will add new equipment and invest more than USD6 million to expand its Fombell facility, creating 38 new jobs in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, according to Areadevelopment.

The project is also expected to retain another 364 jobs.

"We are really excited that Pennsylvania has stepped up to assist us in our expansion project to create a new energy efficient window system for our newest client," James Druschel, vice president, finance and CFO said. "VEKA has three manufacturing sites in the US and we decided to expand our operations in Pennsylvania to supply this new customer. Pennsylvania's assistance was definitely a factor in our decision to expand locally."

The company received a funding offer from the Department of Community and Economic Development including a USD190,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant, USD114,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits and a USD17,100 Guaranteed Free Training grant which will be used to prepare its new workforce. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and the Beaver County Corporation for Economic Development.

"VEKA’s announced plans to expand operations and create additional jobs in Beaver County speak to a rebirth of US manufacturing, which the Pittsburgh region has the expertise and capacity to lead," Dewitt Peart, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance President said.

We remind that, as MRC reported earlier, last year two other European window makers Deceuninck and Gealan developed uPVC window profiles that do not rely on tubular galvanised steel inserts for strength. While steel acts as an effective reinforcement, its heat-conducting properties impede energy efficiency.

Founded in Germany as VekaPlast in 1967, the firm manufactures and distributes vinyl extruded PVC profiles for the window and door manufacturing industry. The company sells predominantly to the residential remodeling and new construction housing markets. VEKA also manufactures and distributes PVC fence lineals, kits and accessories to the fence and railing industry and deck lineals to the decking industry.

Commercial Court No. 1 of Barcelona appoints insolvency administrator of La Seda de Barcelona SA

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Spain's La Seda de Barcelona SA (LSB), which makes plastic bottles in Europe, Turkey and North Africa, has announced that, as a continuation of the press release dated July 4, 2013 on the Company’s insolvency, on July 15, 2013 the Commercial Court No. 1 of Barcelona appointed Mazars Financial Advisory SL as Insolvency Administrator of LSB and the other 12 companies of the Group who should accept the post within a maximum of five days, reported Reuters.

The aforementioned companies of the Group include: Artenius Espana SLU, Artenius Green SLU, Industrias Quimicas Asociadas LSB SLU, Artenius Italia SpA, Artenius Hellas Holding SA, Inmoseda SLU, APPE Benelux NV, APPE Deutschland GmbH, APPE UK Ltd, APPE France SAS, APPE Iberia SAU and APPE Polska Spolka Z Ograniczona Odpowiedzialnoscia.

As MRC informed previously, La Seda de Barcelona said in mid-June that it would begin insolvency proceedings after failing to reach a deal with creditors. La Seda had a debt load of just EUR600 million (USD800 million) at the end of 2012, including debt to providers. Catalonia-based had been in talks with its lenders since September last year after its business ran into trouble because of high raw materials costs and excess supply of the PET plastic containers that it makes.

La Seda de Barcelona SA (LSB) is a group of companies, involved in the manufacture and recycling of PET and PTA resins, industrial chemicals, preforms and biodiesel.

Sipchem and Hanwha plan conversion projects in Saudi Arabia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sipchem Chemicals Company (SCC), an affiliate of Saudi's Sipchem, has signed on July 22, 2013 an incorporation agreement with Hanwha Chemicals Corporation to form a new company, under name of "Saudi Specialty Products Company" for establishing conversion projects in Saudi Arabia. according to Sipchem's press release.

This move was down "in line with the company's commitment to implement what has been stated at volume of fuel and feedstock allocation required to establish EA, EVA, WCC and conversion industries issued by Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources".

The Joint Venture between SCC and Hanwha comprised of two manufacturing facilities; the first one located at Hail will produce 4,000 MTPA of EVA films whereas the second one located at Riyadh will manufacture plastic moulds up to 1000 tons. It is noteworthy that Sipchem Chemicals Company owns 75% of new company capital while Korean Hanwha owns 25%.

Sipchem Chemicals Company will use state of the art technology of Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello (MCTI) Inc. Japan, for the EVA film project and Kiefer Werkzeugbau GmbH, Germany, knowhow transfer and project services for moulds project.

Total investment for these conversion projects will be approximately SR 225 Million (US Dollars 60 Million) and will create employment opportunities for around 180 personnel.

EVA film is used for crystalline silicon and thin film solar photovoltaic module production. EVA film is selected to be the most optimum material for the encapsulation and it is widely used for solar cell encapsulation and perceived to be the most operating-friendly and cost effective material for solar cell glass encapsulation.

This project is the first-of-its kind in the region and illustrates Sipchem commitment towards the Kingdom objective to become a driving force in renewable energy.

On the other hand, Moulds Manufacturing Facility, located in Riyadh, has been designed to manufacture various types of moulds and dies used in plastic and encapsulation plants.

Sipchem has confirmed that its approach to join hands with major players in the global petrochemical business to support Saudi Arabia downstream manufacturing investments.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, in December 2012, Sipchem launched the construction of its EVA films project in Hail Industrial City. The SR 120 million plant will manufacture 4,000 tpa of EVA films. The project will be financed by the company and other local backers and is expected to be operational by Q3-2013.

Hanwha Group is one of the largest business conglomerate in South Korea. Founded in 1952 as Korea Explosives Inc., the group has grown into a large multi-profile business conglomerate, with diversified holdings stretching from explosives, their original business, to retail to financial services.

Established in 1999, Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) manufactures and markets methanol, butanediol, tetrahydrofuran, acetic acid, acetic anhydride, vinyl acetate monomer. Besides, it has launched several down-stream projects to manufacture ethylene vinyl acetate, low density polyethylene, ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, cross linkable polyethylene, and semi conductive compound that are scheduled to start in 2013.

Unipetrol cuts Q2 loss but refining segment weighs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Czech oil group Unipetrol cut its net loss in the second quarter to 426 million crowns (USD21.7 million), helped by its petrochemical and retail segments while the refinery segment weighed, said Reuters.

The loss was narrower than the average estimate of a 482 million crown loss in a Reuters analyst poll and smaller than the 598 million crown loss reported a year ago.

But earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) excluding inventory writedowns fell to 663 million crowns from 1.36 billion a year ago, mainly due to a negative number from the refinery segment.

"It is a warning sign that Unipetrol's refining arm is a lossmaker in this environment even on the EBITDA level, which means that the business is burning cash at the moment," Ceska Sporitelna said in a note.

"We do not see a change in the environment, which means that the business is likely to be lossmaker this year."

The refinery segment was hit by lower margins and a drop in sales due to an unplanned shutdown at the Kralupy refinery at the turn of May and June.

EBITDA excluding inventory revaluation in the refining segment alone was at -151 million, down from 355 million a year ago.

The downstream oil processor, majority-owned by PKN Orlen , said it planned a periodic turnaround at the Kralupy refinery in September and October. Capital expenditures for the project are estimated at 600 million crowns, the company added. (USD1 = 19.6688 Czech crowns).

As MRC wrote before, Unipetrol is preparing a number of modernisation projects: construction of new polyethylene and DCPD units, de-bottlenecking of polypropylene production. It also intends to continue the restructuring process (revamping of the residual oxidation unit (POX), possible closure of the ammonia unit). By 2017, the Company plans to increase the capacity utilisation of the pyrolysis plant by 13%, and improve sales of petrochemical products by 11%, to 1.4m 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.