Westlake Chemical acquires specialty PVC producer Vinnolit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Westlake Chemical Corporation has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire German-based Vinnolit Holdings GmbH and its subsidiary companies from Advent International, a private equity firm, reported the company on its site.

Vinnolit is an integrated global leader in specialty polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins. The acquisition price of EUR490 million will be financed using existing Westlake cash and credit facilities. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014, subject to standard closing conditions, including regulatory review.

Vinnolit has six production facilities located in Gendorf, Burghausen, Cologne, Knapsack and Schkopau in Germany and Hillhouse in the United Kingdom. These operations have a combined annual capacity of 780,000 metric tons of PVC, including specialty paste and suspension grades, 665,000 metric tons of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and 475,000 metric tons of membrane grade caustic soda. Vinnolit has a world class research and development facility in Gendorf and applications laboratory in Burghausen.

Vinnolit's products are suitable for a wide range of industrial and building product applications including automotive sealants, cable sheathing, flooring, medical applications, pipes, rigid film, technical coatings, wall covering and window profiles. Vinnolit's headquarters are located in Ismaning, Germany, outside of Munich. The company generated EUR917 million of revenue in 2013 and employs approximately 1,400 employees.

"The acquisition of Vinnolit is an excellent strategic fit for Westlake. It will allow us to expand our chlorvinyl business globally and adds important specialty PVC products and technology to our existing portfolio," says Albert Chao, Westlake's President and CEO. "Vinnolit is an impressive company with an outstanding reputation for meeting customer needs with superior technology, product quality, and operating excellence. We look forward to working with their talented team as they join the Westlake family of companies."

"We have transformed Vinnolit into the leading specialty PVC manufacturer and remain dedicated to further growing the company's business," commented Dr Josef Ertl, Managing Director of Vinnolit, on behalf of the management board. "We thank Advent for their support and strategic advice in developing Vinnolit and facilitating its successful transformation. We, as a management team, look forward to beginning a new chapter in our company's history and continuing our successful growth path together with Westlake."

As MRC informed earlier, last March, Westlake Chemical agreed to acquire the PVC pipe and fittings unit of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA's CertainTeed Corp. for USD175 million. CertainTeed's pipe and foundation group produces PVC pipe and fittings for municipalities, water wells, mining, agriculture and irrigation. The transaction was closed in the second quarter of 2013.

Westlake Chemical Corporation is an international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and building products with headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company's range of products includes: ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, caustic, VCM, PVC resin and PVC building products including pipe and specialty components, windows and fence.

Aramco to invest USD100bn in downstream projects

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Aramco said its downstream investments would exceed USD100 billion over the next decade, as global demand for oil rises by a quarter in the next 25 years, said Zawya.

According to the company's 2013 annual review, Aramco and its subsidiaries own or have equity interest in domestic and international refineries with a total worldwide refining capacity of 4.9 million barrels per day, of which its equity share is 2.6 million barrels per day, making it the world's sixth-largest refiner. Aramco is also looking to grow within the petrochemicals sector with two major projects.

Aramco has a joint venture with Dow Chemical to build the USD20 billion Sadara petrochemical complex in Jubail that is due to come on stream in the second half of 2015 is also expanding its petrochemical complex called PetroRabigh that it jointly owns with Sumitomo Chemical.

Khalid al-Falih, the company's chief executive said at a petrochemicals conference in Bahrain that the investment will exceed USD100 billion over the next decade alone. "As a result of both global demographic growth and rising standards of living in the developing world we see global demand for oil growing by a quarter over the next 25 years," he said.

Falih said Aramco's refining capacity would be between 8 million to 10 million barrels a day (bpd) in the coming years, a figure exceeding the goal cited by Aramco in 2012 of 8 million bpd.

Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, Saudi Aramco's President and Senior Executive Officer, disclosed that the company is building the refineries in Jazan, Satorp, a joint venture with Total, and Yaserf, a joint venture with Sinopec, in addition to building or expanding two world-class chemical complexes: Sadara complex, a joint venture with Daewoo Chemical and Petro Rabegh complex, a joint venture with Sumitomo Chemical.

As MRC wrote before, Saudi Aramco Products Trading Co., the fuel marketing unit of Saudi Arabia’s state oil producer, started selling products of an affiliated petrochemicals maker. Aramco Trading will sell products including polypropylene and polyethylene made by Rabigh Refining & Petrochemicals Co.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco's value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world's most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.

BASF appoints new head of Construction Chemicals division

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Effective September 1, 2014, Ralf A. Spettmann, currently Senior Vice President, Pigments & Resins Europe, Ludwigshafen, will become President of the Construction Chemicals operating division headquartered in Ludwigshafen, as per the company's press release.

Spettmann succeeds Dr. Tilman Krauch, who will take up a new position at another company.

As MRC reported previously, in early May 2014, the new Supervisory Board of BASF elected Dr. Jurgen Hambrecht as its new chairman. Hambrecht thus succeeds Dr. h.c. Eggert Voscherau, who took over as chairman following the annual shareholders’ meeting 2009 and who was no longer available for re-election. As vice chairmen, the Supervisory Board elected Michael Diekmann and Robert Oswald, both of whom had previously held this function.

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 about EUR74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year.

Rockwood completes USD475m acquisition of 49% interest in Talison Lithium

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Princeton-based Rockwood Holdings Inc. has completed a $475 million acquisition of the ownership interest to create a joint venture with Sichuan Tianqi Lithium Industries Inc., giving Rockwood a 49%ownership interest in Talison Lithium Pty Ltd, said Njbiz.

"Completing the acquisition of 49 percent in Talison is a significant strategic step as we move forward to position Rockwood Lithium as the premier provider of lithium products to our global customers. We are now uniquely situated with significant and diverse lithium resources in multiple continents, including South America, North America and now Australia. This will assure our customers that we have the ability to meet their fast-growing needs," Seifi Ghasemi, chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

"Additionally, this acquisition drives meaningful shareholder value as it meets all of our key capital allocation criteria that we previously announced. It is the leading spodumene producer with the largest and richest mine operations in the world, accretive from day one and expected to deliver margins well over our 25% target. We look forward to working with our Chinese partner to further develop and grow this excellent resource," Ghasemi said.

According to the announcement, Lazard was Rockwood’s financial advisor and Clifford Chance was its legal advisor.

As MRC wrote before, Huntsman Corp is buying Rockwood Holdings Inc's titanium dioxide pigments business for USD1.1 billion cash, a deal that could mark the start of a long-expected shake-up in the volatile industry. The buyout, which is expected to close by June of next year, will make Huntsman second only to DuPont atop the market for titanium dioxide, a key white pigment used in paint, sunscreen and myriad other consumer goods.

Rockwood Holdings, Inc., a global group of inorganic specialty chemicals and advanced materials businesses with approximately 10,200 employees in more than 20 countries. Rockwood focuses on leadership in niche segments of the specialty chemicals, pigments and additives and advanced materials markets.

PVC imports in Kazakhstan increased by 93% in January-April 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in Kazakhstan increased by 93% to 18,100 tonnes in the first four months of this year, according to MRC DataScope report.
Virgin PVC imports to Kazakhstan grew almost twofold to 6,500 tonnes in April, compared with the March level of 3,800 tonnes. Total PVC imports to the country increased to 18,100 tonnes in January - April 2014, compared with 9,400 tonnes in January - April 2013.

Lower prices in comparison with other PVC producers helped Chinese companies Xinjiang Zhongtai and Xinjiang Tianye to become the only suppliers of the resin to Kazakhstan in recent months.

PVC from Turkey and South Korea has not been delivered in March - April 2014.