Celanese raises prices of high-polymeric PE grades in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company and a global leader in EVA emulsions, will raise prices of high-polymeric PE grades in Europe, reported the company on its site.

Thus, the price increase of 20 cents per kilogram will be implemented for all GUR and GHR UHMW-PE grades sold in Europe, effective September 15, 2014, or as contracts allow.

As MRC informed earlier, in mid-Junly 2014, Celanese Corporation announced that it would increase the price of vinyl acetate-based emulsions sold in Asia. PVAc homopolymer and vinyl acetate ethylene (EVA) emulsions will increase by CNY 200/tonne for China and USD30/tonne for the rest of Asia effective July 18, 2014, or as contracts allow.

This price increase affects all applications including, but not limited to, adhesives, paints and coatings, building and construction, glass fiber, carpet and paper.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Texas, Celanese employs approximately 7,400 employees worldwide and had 2013 net sales of USD6.5 billion.

Unipetrol Q2 loss widens on refinery asset writedown

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Unipetrol AS, the largest Czech refiner, booked a second-quarter loss after lowering the value of its refinery assets, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The loss widened to 3.5 billion koruna (USD172 million) in the three months ended June 30 from a loss of 429 million koruna (USD21 million) a year earlier, the Prague-based company said on July 23 in an e-mailed statement. Without the impairment charge, Unipetrol would have earned a profit of 346 million koruna (USD17 million).

Unipetrol took an impairment charge of 4.7 billion koruna (USD230 million) on its refinery assets to reflect the worsening economic outlook. The refining segment, Unipetrol’s main source of revenue, remained "very difficult" with a margin of USD0.5 per barrel, the company said.

"We decided to book the one-time impairment of fixed assets because of the worsening mid-term outlook for the refinery segment," CEO Marek Switajewski said in the statement. "We’ve managed to improve revenue in all production segments."

The loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was 3.5 billion koruna (USD172 million), the company said. Sales jumped 31% to 32.4 billion koruna (USD1.6 million) during the period.

As MRC informed previously, last year, Unipetrol acquired technology and production rights for a new polyethylene unit and wants to pick a contractor for the project in the first half of 2014. The company, after posting net losses in 2011 and 2012, laid out plans to invest almost USD1 billion over the next five years and make its petrochemical segment the biggest contributor to profit.

Unipetrol expects petrochemicals to become the largest source of revenue for the company in 2013-2017. Unipetrol wants to use the favourable market conditions to reinforce its position on the petrochemical market and optimise its operations.

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.

AkzoNobel reports paints profits up in Q2

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The world's top paint maker AkzoNobel on Wednesday posted net profit up 11% in the second quarter of 2014, despite a sales drop blamed on unfavourable exchange rates, said the producer in its press release.

The Dutch-Swedish group made 205 million euros (USD276 million) in net profit, "mainly due to higher operating income," a statement said.

Turnover was nevertheless down 4% year-on-year at 3.71 billion euros, "mainly due to five percent adverse currency effects," including a strong euro.

Paint is used throughout industry, as well as being a household purchase, and so is regarded as a broad barometer of underlying economic activity.

As MRC wrote before, Akzo Nobel's first-quarter net profit was up 45% on lower financing costs, while revenue fell 2% because of currency losses and despite higher volumes in all of its businesses. Net profit for the first three months of the year was EUR129 million (EUR178 million) compared with EUR89 million a year earlier.

Formed in 1994 in a merger between Akzo and Nobel, the group employs 50,000 people worldwide and counts Dulux and Trimetal among its brands. Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.

BASF increases earnings considerably in the second quarter due to higher volumes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Quarterly operating earnings at BASF, the world's largest chemicals company by sales, rose slightly less than expected, as a strong euro lowered the value of overseas sales, as per the company's press release.

Second-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), adjusted for one-off items, rose 12.1% to 2.05 billion euros (USD2.76 billion).

Sales and net income also narrowly missed consensus estimates, also hurt by an outage due to an accident at a Dutch plastics raw materials plant, run jointly with Shell.

The shares were seen 0.6% lower in pre-market trade, while Germany's blue-chip index was indicated flat from Wednesday's close.

"The devaluation of almost all major currencies against the euro negatively impacted earnings by roughly 200 million euros compared to the previous second quarter," said Chief Executive Kurt Bock in a statement.

The euro was up more than 5% against the U.S. dollar on average over the quarter.

Earnings at its core chemicals and plastics businesses as well as at its oil and gas unit rose faster than analysts had expected, helped by higher sales of petrochemicals in North America and increased offshore oil production in Libya.

The German group said that despite unfavourable currency developments, it continued to target a slight increase in adjusted EBIT in 2014 but warned that the economic environment had become more challenging.

BASF reiterated that it aimed to increase sales volumes excluding the effects of acquisitions and asset sales but that revenues would decline slightly due to the divestment of its gas trading and storage business.

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.

PKN Orlen posts USD1.7 bln Q2 loss on impairments

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Poland's largest oil group PKN Orlen said on Wednesday it might temporarily shut down its Lithuanian unit after impairments for the loss-making arm took the firm's second quarter loss to a record 5.2 billion zlotys (USD1.7 billion), said Reuters.

The Polish state-controlled group's results were weighed down by in-group impairment charges. The writedown for Orlen Lietuva stood at 4.2 billion zlotys, while for PKN's Czech unit Unipetrol it was 711 million zlotys.

PKN said the situation in Orlen Lietuva worsened in the second half of 2013 because margins were at a 10-year low. The group wants to lower the unit's expenditure to below USD20 million a year and improve efficiency.

"The fourth and first quarters of the year are usually the worst for the refining sector - lowest margins and weak sales," PKN's deputy chief Slawomir Jedrzejczyk said in a statement.

"That's why we are bracing for the worst scenarios, which may happen at the turn of 2014 and 2015. The first step may be to temporarily shut down the Lithuanian refinery."

PKN struggles with a sector-wide problem of low margins, with the Lithuanian unit additionally hit by high transportation costs.

Analysts on average expected PKN to swing to a net profit of 353 million zlotys in the second quarter from a loss of 207 million zlotys a year earlier, helped by a revaluation of oil reserves. But even though the group beat market forecasts with sales of 28.65 billion zlotys in the second quarter, net profit before the writedown stood at 134 million.

PKN now sees its investments at an annual average of 4.1 billion zlotys until 2017, as it wants to focus on the more profitable upstream business. It is targeting oil output at 6 million of barrels of oil equivalent (boe) a year by 2017.

Polski Koncern Naftowy ORLEN S.A. (PKN Orlen) is a Polish oil and gas company. It has a lot of petrol stations in Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Slovakia. It is the biggest company in Poland and one of the biggest oil and gas companies in Europe. Polish group PKN Orlen PKNA is a majority owner - 63% of czech polyolefins manufacturer Unipetrol.