New PTA plant to be started by Tongkun

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China’s polyester maker Tongkun is in plans to start a new purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant, said Apic-online.

A source in China informed that the plant is planned to be started in 2017.

To be located at Zhapu in Zhejiang province, China, the plant will have a production capacity of 1.5 million mt/year.

As MR wrote before, Tongkun Group said its net profit for 2013 slumped by 72.1% year on year to yuan (CNY) 72m (USD11.6m), amid the sluggish domestic chemical fibre market. In 2013, the chemical fibre industry developed weakly, as well as oversupply in some regions which made the industry into the predicament, the company said.

Asahi Kasei to cut SM runs further to 70% on poor margins

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asahi Kasei, Japan's largest producer of styrene monomer, plans to further reduce its SM production rates to 70% next week, from 75% currently, due to poor margins and feedstock supply issues, said Plastemart.

The company has a total SM production capacity of 710,000 mt/year across two plants in Mizushima -- the 320,000 mt/year No. 2 unit and the 390,000 mt/year No. 3 unit. The company has been reducing its SM run rates since the middle of June, due to high feedstock prices and crunched margins.

As MRC wrote before, Asahi Kasei’s (Tokyo, Japan) Fibers division will expand production capacity for polypropylene spunbond nonwovens in Thailand at its subsidiary Asahi Kasei Spunbond (Thailand) Co. AKST will add a new production line of 20,000 metric tons per year capacity which, combined with its existing production line, will double its capacity for spunbond nonwovens to 40,000 m.t/yr. The investment for the capacity expansion is approximately USD5 billion, with a scheduled startup of November 2015.

DSM Composite Resins announces price increase for Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- DSM Composite Resins is increasing the prices of its complete portfolio of unsaturated polyester and vinyl ester resins sold in Europe, the Middle East and India, said Reinforcedplastics.

The price increase is EUR75-100 per tonne, depending on product and resin chemistry.

The increase took effect for all new deliveries after 1 July 2014.

"The price increase is driven by the continued increase in cost for our key raw materials, leaving us no choice but to raise the prices of our products," explains Fons Harbers, EMEAI Sales Director, DSM Composite Resins.

As MRC wrote before, DSM signs distribution agreements for Engineering Plastics B.V. with Nevicolor and Nexeo Solutions to strengthen its presence in Italy. DSM has entered into new agreements with two distributors for its Engineering Plastics portfolio in Italy to improve its coverage across the entire country. The move means that Italian customers (like DSM customers in other European countries) will now have a choice of distributors for their thermoplastics. The agreements with Nevicolor and Nexeo Solutions apply to the full range of DSM’s engineering Plastics products.

DSM Composite Resins, headquartered in Schaffhausen Switzerland, is a business unit of Dutch life and materials sciences company DSM.

Arkema and Omya ink distribution pact for plastic additives

MOSCOW (MRC) -- French specialty chemicals firm Arkema and Omya, a Switzerland-based global provider and distributor of specialty chemicals, have entered into an exclusive pan-European distribution agreement, said the producer in its press release.

Under this distribution agreement, Omya will market Arkema's plastic additives range for various polymer markets (impact modifier and processing aid solutions): Plastistrength, Durastrength, Clearstrength and Biostrength across Europe, except Spain and Portugal. This agreement is based on genuine synergy between the two companies. By leveraging its distribution network in Europe, Omya will bring extensive business opportunities for Arkema and provide a complete plastic additives range as well as tailor-made services to its clients.

"We are pleased that Arkema has chosen Omya as its exclusive distributor in most of Europe to trade its plastic additives. We have a strong customer base established over the past 130 years. We are confident that our customers will appreciate this opportunity to have access to Arkema’s plastic additives," commented Bill Cardew, Vice President Sales Europe, Omya.Martin Burki, Arkema’s Plastic Additives Commercial Director, added, "This distribution agreement fits perfectly with our long-term development strategy for plastic additives in Europe. Arkema products will achieve a deeper market penetration while further enhancing our customer service. We are excited by the many synergies that will emerge from our two companies’ combined know-how."

As MRC wrote before, Arkema announced a comprehensive range of PEKK (Poly Ether Ketone Ketone) ultra high performance polymers comprised of three families of products whose properties meet the requirements of aerospace, oil exploration and electronics applications. These new materials significantly expand Arkema’s high performance materials offerings to high added value markets.

Omya is a leading global producer of industrial minerals – mainly fillers and pigments derived from calcium carbonate and dolomite – and a worldwide distributor of specialty chemicals. The company’s major markets are forest products (fiber based products such as paper, board and tissue), polymers, building materials (paints, coatings, sealants, adhesives and construction) as well as life sciences (food, feed, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, environment and agriculture).

Arkema is a leading European supplier of chlorochemicals and PVC. Kynar and Kynar Flex are registered trademarks of Arkema Inc. As MRC reported previously, Moody's Investors Service had upgraded Arkema S.A.'s senior unsecured rating to Baa2 from Baa3. The outlook on the rating was changed to stable from positive.

Ashland Inc. and Clariant complete sale of ASK Chemicals joint venture to Rhone

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ashland Inc. and Clariant announced they have completed the previously announced sale of their joint venture, ASK Chemicals GmbH headquartered in Hilden, Germany, to investment funds affiliated with Rhone, a London and New York-based private equity investment firm, said Jeccomposites.

The enterprise value of the transaction, before debt and assumed liabilities, amounts to EUR257 million. After adjusting for debt and assumed liabilities, total pre-tax proceeds to the sellers were EUR149 million, which includes EUR128 million in cash and a EUR21 million buyer note. Proceeds will be split evenly between Ashland and Clariant under terms of the 50/50 joint venture.

With 1,800 employees in 25 countries, ASK Chemicals is a leading foundry chemicals manufacturer. Its portfolio encompasses an exceptionally broad and innovative range of foundry resources such as binders, coatings, feeders, filters and release agents, as well as metallurgical products including inoculants, inoculation wires and master alloys for iron casting. In 2013, ASK Chemicals generated annual revenues of EUR513 million.

Ashland Inc. provides the specialty chemicals, technologies for a wide variety of markets and applications, including architectural coatings, automotive, construction, energy, food and beverage, personal care, pharmaceutical, tissue and towel, and water treatment.

As MRC reported earlier, this summer, Clariant and Tasnee, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Saudi Arabia, signed an agreement to establish a masterbatches joint venture in Saudi Arabia. Clariant's Masterbatches business unit is a recognized global leader in color and additive concentrates and performance solutions for plastics.

Clariant Chemicals (India) Limited and custom color and additive products with production of more than 10,000 color matches which are completed each year. With more than 50 manufacturing plants around the world, Clariant
Masterbatches products, technology and service deliver competitive advantages that foster long-term customer relationships.