Finnish packaging company Huhtamaki sells films business

MOSCOW (MRC) Private equity firm Deutsche Beteiligungs AG (DBAG) will acquire the film business of Finland-based plastics packaging group Huhtamaki Oyj for 141 million euros (USD176.2 million) in a management buyout, said the company in its press release.

DBAG will hold 17% in Huhtamaki Films and invest up to 12.5 million euros (USD15.6 million). The DBAG Fund VI and the company’s management will hold the remaining shares.

The film division, which is headquartered in Forchheim, Germany, saw net sales of more than 187 million euros (USD252.8 million) in 2013. In July, its Espoo, Finland-based parent company announced that it was looking to divest from the segment to focus more on food packaging.

DBAG was interested. The firm looks for well-positioned, mid-size companies and it sees Huhtamaki Films as a specialized enterprise that collaborates closely with customers to develop and produce plastics-based liners and films for hygiene and health products, the construction industry, and adhesive tapes and labels. Sales are pretty evenly divided among the three areas of application.

About 75% of Huhtamaki Films’ diverse product portfolio, which ranges from the outer layer of baby diapers to acoustic and thermal insulation to films for sealing sewage pipes, was developed to meet specific customer needs. The products are made with various degrees of siliconization, barrier properties to protect against light or fluid, and they can have tear-proof, biodegradable or antistatic qualities.

The films and liners are produced at four facilities that employ more than 600 people in Forchheim; Malvern, Pa.; Thailand and Brazil. The company has more than 1,000 staff in total.

Huhtamaki Films is the first company to be added to DBAG’s portfolio for the 2014-15 financial year. The management buyout offers a chance to expand the product offering, according to Peter Wahsner, executive vice president of Huhtamaki Films.

DBAG expects to complete two or three management buyouts and up to three expansion capital investments annually. Managed and advised assets currently add up to about 1.3 billion euros (USD1.6 billion). The Huhtamaki transaction, which is subject to regulatory clearance, is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Huhtamaki announced in July that it would buy India's Positive Packaging for 247 million euros to increase its access to Indian and Middle Eastern markets.

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.

Cracker planned to be restarted by Shell

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell is in plans to restart a naphtha cracker following maintenance turnaround, said Apic-online.

A source in Germany informed that the cracker is likely to be restarted in mid-December 2014. It was shut in mid-October 2014.

Located at Wesseling in Germany cracker, which has the capacity to produce 260,000 tonnes a year of ethylene, is shutting from 16 October, with a restart date around 5-6 December.

As MRC wrote before, Shell’s 115,000 tonnes/year BD unit in Moerdijk, the Netherlands is expected to resume production in the course of 2015. The unit has been down since early October because of a steam leak which affected the whole site.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

A. Schulman announces two restructuring actions in its Americas segment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A. Schulman has announced that it is consolidating its North American production facilities, reported the company on its site.

As part of its ongoing review of its manufacturing footprint, the company will close its plant in Stryker, Ohio, in April 2015 and shift the plant's production to other facilities in North America.

The Stryker plant has been producing products primarily for markets in the United States and Mexico. It employs approximately 70 people and was part of A. Schulman's acquisition of the Ferro Specialty Plastics Business, which was completed in July 2014.

Additionally, the company announced that it is making SG&A reductions in North America as part of its ongoing effort to drive further synergies from recent acquisitions and eliminate duplicate functions. As a result of this effort, the company expects headcount reductions at various locations to total approximately 10 people.

The majority of the costs associated with the manufacturing consolidation, approximately USD2.5 million, are expected to be included in the company's financial results for the fiscal 2015 first quarter ending November 30, 2014. The annualized savings, approximately USD3 million, will be realized in the second half of fiscal 2015. A portion of these savings were part of the previously stated USD5.5 million in net synergies related to the acquisition of Ferro's Specialty Plastics business.

As MRC wrote previously, in June 2014, A. Schulman agreed to purchase a majority of the assets of the specialty plastics business of Ferro Corp. for USD91 million in cash. The purchase agreement includes four facilities located in the US as well as operations in Spain.

A. Schulman is a global plastics supplier, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, and a leading international supplier of high-performance plastic compounds and resins, which are used as raw materials in a variety of markets. A. Schulman has 33 manufacturing facilities globally. A. Schulman's fiscal third-quarter earnings fell 69% amid continued sluggishness in European markets and higher-than-expected costs in Latin America, where the company has been consolidating its Brazilian operations.

Vinachem sells 11% stake in petrochem project to PetroVietnam

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PetroVietnam (PVN) has bought 11% stakes in the National Chemicals Group (Vinachem) in the Long Son Petrochemicals Complex project on Nov. 17, 2014, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

According to both the parties, the capital transfer, which was included in the government's restructuring plan national organisations, was approved by the Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, in August.

The transfer of stake aims to use the investment to speed up the USD4.5 million worth Ba Ria-Vung Tau-based Long Son Petrochemicals project.

Before the transfer, PVN contributed 18% of the project capital and Vinachem contributed 11%. Thailand and Qatar's investment accounted for the rest 71%. Now PVN contributes 29% of the project capital.

The 400 ha petrochemical complex, considered the biggest of its kind in Vietnam, will be located in the Long Son industrial zone near the Long Son oil refinery. The project is in the preparation stage that includes, building of infrastructure and selection of contractors.

It is designed to produce 2.7 million tonnes of polyethylene and polypropylene, the raw materials required for the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other kinds of chemical products, to serve the increasing demand from the domestic petrochemical industry.

According to PVN, the local industries require up to USD2 billion worth of high-quality plastic resins annually.

The project is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2019.

As MRC wrote before, Rosneft and PetroVietnam discussed supplying Russian oil to PetroVietnam’s Dung Quat refinery and potential cooperation on modernizing the plant. Rosneft is in talks to buy Chevron’s stake in gas fields off southern Vietnam for about USD200 million, PetroVietnam CEO Do Van Hau told Bloomberg in an interview on Aug 22.

PetroVietnam, Japan’s Mitsui & Co. and Thailand’s PTT Exploration & Production are partners in the Chevron project and have the first option on any stake up for sale, Hau said.


Chevron fights hike in South Africa fuel imports, citing harm to refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chevron Corp. is trying to block an increase in fuel imports to Cape Town, where the US oil company operates one of South Africa’s refineries, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The country of 53 million people doesn’t produce enough fuel to meet demand from motorists, forcing shipments from refineries elsewhere. Burgan Cape Terminals wants to build storage tank near Chevron’s plant to supply the nearby Western Cape province. Chevron says that will undermine the profitability of its 110,000-bpd plant, first commissioned in 1966.

The San Ramon, California-based oil company "does not oppose the construction of the fuel storage and distribution terminal to provide access to new entrants," it said in an e- mail. "We do oppose imports which could have a detrimental impact on national manufacturing capacity and capability."

Burgan is 70% owned by terminal operator VTTI B.V., a joint venture of energy trader Vitol and Malaysian shipping company MISC. It’s applied to National Energy Regulator of South Africa, or Nersa, to construct fuel storage and distribution facilities near Chevron’s refinery, which accounts for almost a quarter of South Africa’s crude oil refining capacity. The regulator will hold a hearing on the matter today.

While most people using the tanks would get fuel from the refinery, they would also have the option to ship products in from abroad, said Muziwandile Mseleku, CEO of Burgan Cape Terminals.

As MRC wrote before, a pump serving ethylene unit No. 22 at Chevron Phillips Chemical's Sweeny, Texas plant has shut unexpectedly, according to a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The ethylene unit has an production capacity of 300,000 m tpa. Chevron Phillips operates three steam crackers at the Sweeny site, with estimated ethylene production of 1.9 mln mtpa.

Chevron Phillips Chemica, headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas (north of Houston), US,l is one of the world’s top producers of olefins and polyolefins and a leading supplier of aromatics, alpha olefins, styrenics, specialty chemicals, piping, and proprietary plastics. Chevron and Phillips 66 each own 50% of Chevron Phillips Chemical.