China launches investments in Belarus

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China is preparing to invest in a major bottle grade PET production project planned by the Belarus PET and polyester fibers producer Mogilevkhimvolokno to start up by 2016, said Plasticsnews.

As part of a bi-lateral strategic partnership between the countries, Belarus invited the Chinese government to join in the construction of a new 200,000 metric tons per year PET plant at the state-owned polyester firm’s site in Mogilev, Belarus.

A draft partnership contract is being drawn up following a visit to Belarus by a top level Chinese delegation in June. Belarus Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich invited further discussion on details of the project when he met Chinese government members in the Belarus capital Minsk.

Belarus has already sealed a separate infrastructure investment deal with China to create the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park in the Smolevichi District near Minsk. Occupying 8,048 hectares the site will initially employ 25,000 people. The foundation stone was laid at a ceremony last month.

A Chinese partner company in the Szao Industrial Park Development, responsible for creating the Smolevichi park, is CAMC Engineering which is also reported to be involved in a fledgling PET joint venture with Mogilevkhimvolokno, according to Belarus media.

Mogilevkhimvolokno, an offshoot of the state petrochemicals group Belneftekhim, aims to upgrade and expand its polyester production. The PET facility is one element of a new integrated PET and polyester fibres complex it plans, upgrading technology from a dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) raw material base to terephthalic acid (PTA).
Mogilevkhimvolokno already signed an upstream partnership deal with the Kazakhstan oil and gas producer KazMunayGas (KMG) for the supply of intermediate paraxylene, required by the Belarus polyester complex.

Styrolution presents new Zylar grades advancing standards in transparency and toughness

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Complementing its strong and innovative transparent specialty portfolio, Styrolution, the global leader in stryrenics, has launched three new Zylar grades: Zylar 650, Zylar 245 and Zylar 765, as per the company's press release.

The new grades expand the innovative Zylar portfolio, which consists of diverse grades of methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene copolymers. Zylar products are characterized by water clear transparency, high flowability, good chemical resistance and customizable toughness. The development and addition of Zylar 650, Zylar 245 and Zylar 765 are further proof of Styrolution's commitment to innovation in transparent specialties and offers customers new material options in a range of industries including healthcare, household, toys/sports/leisure and packaging.

Currently produced out of Styrolution's Schwarzheide facility, the new grades, as well as the entire Zylar portfolio, provide global and EMEA customers with greater supply security. This will be further enhanced in the fourth quarter of 2014 with the startup of a new NAS and Zylar plant in Ludwigshafen. With two European production sites for Zylar, EMEA customers will not only benefit from local supply but also from dedicated service teams that offer expertise in selected focus industries, technical support, regulatory services and certifications.

Portfolio enables a diverse range of innovative applications: With resistance to alcohol, washing and cleaning agents, Zylar is an ideal material for a wide range of applications. Given its unique properties, Zylar offers material solutions for household applications, such as vacuum cleaner parts, shower heads, garment hangers and transparent refrigerator components, as well as sports and leisure applications including display screens on treadmills and exercise equipment. The products are also employed in the healthcare industry for housing filters and infusion connectors and are ideal for packaging products such as storage containers and canisters for cleaning solutions. Additionally, a majority of the portfolio is FDA approved for food contact, has received drinking water approval and has passed biocompatible testing - making it a safe solution for a range of applications across industries.

As MRC informed previously, last August, Styrolution announced the start-up of its Luran S plant located in Ulsan, South Korea. Luran S belongs to Styrolution's specialties portfolio, which is well-known for its innovation, quality and customizability. It is the brand name for Styrolution's styrene acrylonitrile copolymers that have been impact-modified with acrylic ester rubber, acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA). It is used in outdoor applications in various industries including automotive, electrical & electronics, building & construction, as well as sports & leisure. The new plant has a capacity of 43,000 mt per year, complementing current ASA capacity in Europe and North America.

The Styrolution Group GmbH is a global provider of styrenics , headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. The company is a joint venture between BASF (50%) and INEOS (50%), were merged into the main styrene operations of the two partners. Its main focus is on the production of monomer, polystyrene, styrenic specialties, and ABS. The company offers styrene plastics for a variety of everyday products from different industries , such as automotive, electronics, construction, household, leisure, packaging, medicine and health.

Huhtamaki announced plans to sell Its films business segment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Finland-based packaging supplier Huhtamaki has announced plans to sell its films business segment, in order to concentrate more on food packaging, said the producer in its press release.

The company's latest decision comes on the heels of evaluating options pertaining to its films business, which reported an increase in net sales in 2014 with an improvement in financial performance.

Huhtamaki's films segment manufactures and sells films and provides services to global markets through its manufacturing units that are located in Europe, Asia, North America and South America.

Said to be used for technical applications in the label, adhesive tape, hygiene and health care industries, the films can also be used in building and construction, automotive, packaging and graphic arts industries. In 2013, the segment, which employs around 924 employees, reported net sales of about EUR187m.

Recently, the company has signed an agreement to acquire privately owned flexible packaging company Positive Packaging, for around EUR247m (USD336m).

The company has nine manufacturing facilities in India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), along with prominent business in Africa and other export markets.

At the time of signing agreement, Huhtamaki Oyj CEO Jukka Moisio said the acquisition will improve firm's position in India and offers improved access to the fast growing markets of Africa and Middle East.

"Many of our global customers are investing heavily to grow in these markets, and now we are even better resourced to help them grow," Moisio added.

Positive Packaging, which has around 2,500 people in India and UAE, has annual net sales of about EUR220m. Subject to the approval of competition authorities, the transaction is expected to be finalized in the fall.

As MRC wrote before, Huhtamaki, the Finnish-based consumer packaging specialist with worldwide operations, will build a moulded fibre egg packaging unit adjacent to its existing packaging facility in the greater Moscow area.
The new unit will concentrate on a narrow range of high-volume premium egg packaging, with complementary products sourced from other Huhtamaki units and technology licensees. This supply network enables the company to start sales and deliveries while the new unit is still under construction. The company already has a specialised fresh foods sales force in Russia.


Formosa to shut its naphtha cracker No.3 in Taiwan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Formosa, the largest supplier of plastics in Taiwan, is in plans to shut its No 3 naphtha cracker for maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Taiwan informed that the plant is likely to be shut on August 15, 2014. It is likely to remain off-stream for around 45 days.

Located in Mailiao, Taiwan, the plant has an ethylene capacity of 1.2 million mt/year, propylene capacity of 600,000 mt/year and butadiene capacity of 180,000 mt/year.

As wrote before, in November 2013, Formosa Plastics was seeking United States permits for a USD2 billion expansion of its Texas operations as cheaper natural gas prices make US production more competitive. The company asked federal and state environmental regulators to approve plans for an ethane cracker unit and downstream derivatives. The investment is bigger than was previously planned by Formosa Plastics as of February 2012, when it said it would spend USD1.7 billion to build two factories and a polyethylene plastics plant in Texas.

Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company's plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).

Bayer PC used for lightweight, durable luggage collection

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bayer MaterialScience has partnered with U.S.-based travel goods manufacturer Andiamo Luggage LLC to create a special plastic for suitcases that is scratch resistant and particularly lightweight, said Plasticsnews.

The new Bayer plastic will form the Pantera Collection from Andiamo Luggage. The extruded Makrolon brand polycarbonate can be shaped virtually at will and colored in a number of shades says Bayer, which helps the material to create fashionable suitcases.

Bayer says the plastic’s scratch resistance means that suitcases will still look good even after many trips and states that the material even exceeds previous polycarbonate grades. The suitcases are expected to launch in August with Andiamo Luggage offering a 10-year warranty on items from the collection.

As MRC wrote before, Bayer MaterialScience, a Bayer Group company, said that it has decided to close its site in Darmstadt, Germany, as part of the worldwide consolidation of its business with sheets made of the high-performance plastic polycarbonate. The closure in Darmstadt affects 90 employees. The European customers will be supplied in the future by the plants in Nera Montoro, Italy, and Tielt, Belgium.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., BMS is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,800 employees at 30 production sites around the world. The company’s 2011 sales in North America were USD2.9 billion.

With 2013 sales of EUR 11.2 billion, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2013, Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,300 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company.