Avantium raises funds to pursue commercial-scale PEF resin plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bio-based materials and packaging firm Avantium has received USD50 million in financing from a group that includes beverage giant Coca-Cola Co. and blow molder Alpla Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH, said Plasticsnews.

In a June 5 news release, officials with Amsterdam-based Avantium said their firm would use the investment to advance polyethylene furanoate (PEF), a bio-based alternative to PET. The firm already is working with Coke to make bottles from the material.

The new investment will allow for industrial validation of PEF, as well as finalizing the engineering and design of the first commercial-scale plant for the product.

"PEF is a 100 percent bio-based plastic with superior performance compared to today's packaging materials and represents a tremendous market opportunity," CEO Tom van Aken said in the release. "Our proprietary YXY technology to make PEF has been proven at pilot plant scale as we are now moving to commercial deployment."
In addition to Atlanta-based Coke and Hard, Austria-based Alpla, firms involved in the new round of financing for Avantium include French food conglomerate Danone and British investment firm Swire Pacific.

Coke next generation materials and sustainability research director Yu Shi added in the release that Coke "believes performance and sustainability can go hand-in-hand to make a world of difference for consumers, the environment and our business."

Avantium currently makes PEF at a pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands. Its first commercial-scale plant — with annual capacity of 110 million pounds — is expected to be operational in 2017.

Composite One approaches USD1 billion sales mark with Nexeo deal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Composites One LLC has bought the composites distribution business of Nexeo Solutions LLC for an undisclosed price, said Plasticsnews.

The deal will allow Arlington Heights, Ill.-based Composites One to offer its "extensive product line, unmatched technical support, dependable service and delivery to more customers in the U.S. and now, across all of Canada," officials said in release.

About 100 Nexeo employees will join Composites One as a result of the transaction, including some based in offices in Dublin, Ohio; Montreal and at Nexeo’s headquarters site in The Woodlands, Texas.

Nexeo’s composites distribution business has annual sales of between USD250 million and USD300 million. Combining that with Composites One’s annual sales total of between USD600 million and USD700 million will create a massive composites distribution entity with annual sales of between USD850 million and USD1 billion.

The final deal may include some composites inventory, but won’t include any warehouses or property, officials said. Composites One has been solely owned by the Dehmlow family — through its Synergy 55 Corp. business - since 2012, when they bought out joint venture partner CCP Composites. The firm’s history dates back to 1940, when Louis H.T. Dehmlow III and two business partners founded Great Lakes Solvents in Chicago. Its current distribution mix includes resins, reinforcements, gelcoats, pigments and related products from more than 450 suppliers.

As MRC wrote before, Nexeo Solutions has announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of Archway Sales, Inc. and Jacaab, LLC (Archway). The combined capability of Nexeo Solutions and Archway creates a full line distributor in the coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (CASE) industry.

Nexeo was formed in 2010 when private equity firm TPG Capital paid USD930 million for the global distribution business of Ashland Inc. In the first half of its 2014 fiscal year - ended March 31 - Nexeo posted sales of almost USD2.3 billion. That total was up almost nine percent vs. sales in the first half of fiscal 2013. Nexeo’s sales are split almost evenly between chemicals and plastics, where it ranks as one of North America’s largest resin distributors.
Earlier this year, Nexeo paid USD125 million to acquire Archway Sales Inc., a St. Louis-based chemicals distributor whose product mix includes some specialty plastic resins and plastic additives. Archway’s annual sales are estimated at about USD200 million.

Huntsman develops a series of polyurethane-based footwear

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The polyurethanes division of US chemicals major Huntsman (The Woodlands, Texas) is teaming up with German fashion footwear manufacturer ara Shoes (Langenfeld) in a pre-production development project, said Plasteurope.

With signs pointing to a return of footwear manufacturing across Europe, ara called on Huntsman to assist in the development of a series of polyurethane-based prototypes ahead of the German company’s plans to open a new production line based in Portugal.

According to Huntsman, its technical resources and ability to create a replica production environment were important for the shoe manufacturer’s goals of identifying and resolving any potential production issues straight away. The samples were created at Huntsman’s footwear development centre in Belgium. The polyurethanes division has its international headquarters and global research and technology facilities situation in Everberg, near Brussels.

"Though China remains the biggest shoe manufacturing country in the world – producing around 13 bn pairs annually – labour costs have increased dramatically in recent years. Chinese wage bills are now around four times higher than they were eight years ago. While costs have been creeping up in China, European suppliers to the footwear industry have adopted a more automated approach to manufacturing – narrowing the cost differential between the regions," stated Alfons Tremml, a commercial manager for footwear at Huntsman Polyurethanes.

As MRC informed earlier, last year, Huntsman Corp. signed a definitive agreement to acquire Oxid LP, a privately-held manufacturer and marketer of specialty urethane polyols based in Houston, Texas. Oxid's polyols are a key component in the production of energy-saving polyurethane insulation products that are used in residential and commercial construction.

Huntsman Polyurethanes is one of the global leaders in MDI-based polyurethanes and serves more than 3,000 customers in 90 countries. MDI is manufactured at its Dutch site in Rozenburg near Rotterdam. Aniline and nitrobenzene – key ingredients in MDI production – are made at UK facilities in Wilton. The division also has production facilities in the US and China along with 19 downstream facilities worldwide.


Kuraray acquires DuPont glass laminating solutions/vinyls

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kuraray, Japanese manufacturer of performance-based polymer and synthetic chemistry technologies, successfully completed its acquisition of DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions/Vinyls, a segment of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, according to a Kuraray press release.

The USD543-million acquisition will double the size of Kuraray’s presence in the United States, Central and South America. The companies announced about this deal back in 2013.

GLS/Vinyls is a supplier of polyvinyl alcohol/vinyl acetate-derived products used in a variety of architectural, automotive and industrial applications. The acquisition allows Kuraray to expand its technical and operational strength in the areas of technology, R&D, manufacturing and sales network. The purchase also offers Kuraray an integrated supply chain, presence in six new markets worldwide and increased availability of resources through DuPont’s strong market penetration, officials report.

"These increased capacities allow us to better meet the huge demand of current customers and acquire new ones, ultimately laying the groundwork for Kuraray to advance our goal of transforming into a global and integrated vinyl acetate company," said Keiji Murakami, president of Kuraray’s Vinyl Acetate Company.

DuPont is an American chemical company that was founded in July 1802. It is the world's ninth largest chemical company based on revenue in 2012. DuPont developed many polymers such as Vespel, neoprene, nylon, Corian, Teflon, Mylar, Kevlar, Zemdrain, M5 fiber, Nomex, Tyvek, Sorona and Lycra. DuPont developed Freon (chlorofluorocarbons) for the refrigerant industry, and later more environmentally friendly refrigerants. It developed synthetic pigments and paints including ChromaFlair.

Russian and Ukrainian companies increased HDPE purchases in foreign markets

MOSCOW (MRC) - Russian and Ukrainian companies began actively purchasing of high density polyethylene (HDPE) in foreign markets. The main volume of purchases occurred for PE from the USA and Middle Eastern countries, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

In early June, the Russian and Ukrainian companies have significantly increased their PE purchases in the foreign markets. The reason for such a surge in PE buying in both countries were the shutdowns of the local producers and a seasonal increase in demand. The main volume of purchases occurred for the HDPE from the USA and the Middle East.

Russian companies reported they had to increase HDPE purchasing because of the outage of the second largest local PE producer- Stavrolen and oncoming series of the turnarounds of other Russian producers amid the high season.
Deals for film HDPE from North America and the Middle East were done in the range of USD1,590-1,640/tonne CFR St. Petersburg, and USD1,640-1,660/tonne CFR St. Petersburg, respectively.

A similar situation was in the Ukrainian market. Local producer Karpatneftekhim shut down its production in November last year, but it continues to sell its material in June. Nearest alternative suppliers - producers from Europe and Russia are also gradually reducing its export quotas due to the strong domestic demand and production cutbacks.
Ukrainian companies active contracted Middle Eastern HDPE, with June deals done in the range of USD1,600-1,640/tonne CIF Odessa.

Market participants in both countries noted that HDPE supply from Middle Eastern producers were reduced because of strong demand from the Asian market and the approaching Ramadan.