European producers trying to limit fall in export PE prices for CIS markets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The November contract price of ethylene in Europe was agreed by EUR90/tonne lower compared to October. Nevertheless, despite such a major fall in feedstock prices, European producers intend to limit the decrease in export polyethylene (PE) prices for the CIS countries by EUR20-60/tonne, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

A slump in oil prices has led to a similar fall in the prices of refined oil products. Thus, the November contract price of ethylene in Europe was agreed by EUR90/tonne below the October level. In their turn, European producers said they had a strong demand from the domestic market and restricted export quota. Therefore, they do not intend to reduce PE prices proportionally to the cuts in ethylene prices.

The import duty on PE for producers from the Gulf countries and Brazil was raised to 6.5% from 1 January 2014 , leading to lower imports to Europe. The weakening of the euro in recent months has made imports even more unprofitable. And European producers managed to completely balance the market by reducing their capacity utilisation.

Low capacity utilisation and strong demand from the domestic market for several months were the cause of limited export quotas of European producers, particularly, for low density polyethylene (LDPE) and pipe grade high density polyethylene (HDPE).

Nnegotiations over November export prices of European PE began this week. Deals for HDPE were negotiated in the range of EUR1,160-1,200/tonne FCA, down by EUR20-40/tonne from October. Deals for LDPE were negotiated in the range of EUR1,200-1,260/tonne FCA, down by EUR40-60/tonne from October.

Styron increases prices for Latex technologies in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Styron, the global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber, and its affiliate companies have announced price increases of EUR50 Euro per dry metric ton for all Styrene butadiene and acrylic latexes sold into the paper, carpet and performance markets in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMEAI), reported the company on its site.

This increase will be immediately or as contract terms permit.

"Styron is investing considerable resources into developing new technologies for its Latex markets while continuing to focus on maintaining its high level of expertise and service. This price increase is necessary in order to address the significant margin erosion which we have seen since 2008 and to allow us to continue to provide the high quality of products and service our customers receive from Styron," says Jan Muller, Styron Global Business Director, Latex.

As MRC informed earlier, in February 2014, Styron announced that it would be doubling its Solution Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SSBR) production capacity of one train, after reaching an agreement with material supplier JSR, to acquire its current production capacity rights at Styron’s world-scale rubber production hub in Schkopau, Germany.

SSBR is used in producing high performance tires and green tires with lower rolling resistance. Styron’s Schkopau production site currently hosts eight world-scale rubber trains that supply tire customers around the world. Prior to this agreement, JSR held the capacity rights to 50% of one of Styron’s three SSBR production trains in Schkopau.

As a result, as from April 1, 2014 Styron received full capacity rights to this train, enabling it to increase its capabilities to serve the global tire market.

Styron is a leading global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber, dedicated to collaborating with customers to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions. Styron’s technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Styron had approximately USD5.3 billion in revenue in 2013, with 19 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,100 employees.

Axiall profit Q3 profit rises

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Axiall Corp, a maker of chemicals and building products, reported third-quarter net income of USD44.5 million, higher than USD39.0 million in the prior-year quarter, said Nasdaq.

Excluding items, adjusted earnings for the quarter were USD0.72 per share, compared to USD0.97 per share in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue for the quarter grew to USD1.27 billion from USD1.20 billion in the same quarter last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters projected earnings of $0.60 per share on revenue of USD1.19 billion for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

As MRC wrote before, Axiall Corp. considered building a USD3 billion ethane cracker and chemical plant somewhere in Louisiana. Axiall would invest USD1 billion of its own money, while an unnamed partner would put in USD2 billion. The plant could open in 2018, creating 225 permanent jobs.

Axiall Corporation is a leading integrated chemicals and building products company. It is an international manufacturer of chlor-alkali and derivatives, chlorovinyls and aromatics products including chlorine, caustic soda, vinyl chloride monomer, chlorinated solvents, calcium hypochlorite, ethylene dichloride, muriatic acid, phosgene derivatives, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl compounds, acetone, cumene and phenol. It also manufactures vinyl-based building and home improvement products, including window and door profiles, mouldings, siding, pipe and pipe fittings, and decking. Axiall, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, has manufacturing facilities located throughout North America and in Asia to provide industry-leading materials and services to customers.

GAIL signs MoU with SOCAR

MOSCOW (MRC) -- GAIL (India) Limited has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with State Oil Company of Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), reported the company on its site.

Under the MoU, GAIL and SOCAR intend to jointly pursue LNG opportunities through capacity booking, LNG procurement and promotion of LNG projects globally.

Both companies shall also cooperate in optimization of LNG marketing, sourcing and shipping requirements. In addition, GAIL and SOCAR will pursue business opportunities in upstream assets across the world and joint investment in petrochemical projects.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr B C Tripathi, Chairman and Managing Director, GAIL said "We are happy to enter into this strategic relationship with SOCAR. Skills and strengths of both the parties would be leveraged to explore business opportunities jointly in natural gas and LNG business including new business developments across the gas value chain."

As MRC wrote previously, in April 2014, SOCAR's Azerkimya production association commissioned new storage facilities for the nitrogen-oxygen complex at the ethylene-polyethylene plant. The new facilities consist of 16 storage tanks. In case of ceasing the nitrogen-oxygen unit's activity, it will provide ethylene production by high and low pressure nitrogen within 20-28 hours. Commissioning of new storage facilities will ensure rational, stable and reliable operation of EP- 300 and Polimir- 120 facilities.

GAIL is India’s leading natural gas company with a presence along the entire hydrocarbon value chain spanning E&P, LNG, pipelines, LPG, petrochemicals, city gas distribution, etc.

SOCAR includes Azneft (production association of enterprises producing oil and gas onshore and offshore) and Azerkimya (production association of chemical industry enterprises) and Azerigaz (production association dealing with gas distribution). The company also includes a number of processing enterprises, service enterprises and institutions dealing with geophysical and drilling operations. SOCAR also has assets in Europe and Turkey (Petkim). Petkim is the leading petrochemical company of Turkey. Specializing in petrochemical manufacturing, the company produces ethylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene and other chemical building blocks for use in the manufacture of plastics, textiles, and other consumer and industrial products.

DSM reports Q3 2014 results

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal DSM N.V., a Dutch Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, reported a sharp decline in third-quarter net profit, despite strong performance in all segments, said the company in its press release.

Looking ahead, the company said its full-year 2014 outlook is in line with current market expectations. For the third quarter, net profit decreased 21% to 93 million euros from 117 million euros last year. Net earnings per share was 0.51 euros, down from 0.65 euros in the previous year.

The company noted that the prior year figures were restated for the impact of the termination of proportional consolidation for joint ventures as from 1 Jan 2014 onward. Net profit from continuing operations dropped 10% to 121 million euros or 0.69 euro per share, while core net profit, which excluded certain items, dropped 3% to 141 million euros or 0.81 euro per share.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization or EBITDA from continuing operations, before exceptional items, was 315 million euros, 5% lower than 331 million euros last year.

Net sales for the quarter declined 1% to 2.323 billion euros from 2.354 billion euros last year, on the absence of last year's sales from discontinued operations. On an organic basis, sales grew 5% from last year with improved results in all segments.

As MRC wrote before, Royal DSM signed a partnership agreement with long fibre thermoplastic (LFT) specialist Plasticomp (Winona, Minnesota / USA) to develop bio-based LFT composite materials based on DSM’s "EcoPaXX" polyamide 4.10. The lightweight materials, which include compounds reinforced with glass fiber as well as carbon fiber, will be targeted at automotive and other performance-driven markets.

Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. DSM delivers innovative solutions that nourish, protect and improve performance in global markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automotive, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy and bio-based materials.