Huntsman to cut European TiO2 capacity by 13%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Huntsman plans to reduce its titanium dioxide (TiO2) capacity by approximately 100,000 tons, representing 13% of Huntsman's European TiO2 capacity, the chemicals company announced Thursday.

The plan will generate approximately USD35 million of annual savings.

As part of the plan, Huntsman is proposing to close certain operations at its site in Calais, France. Huntsman says it will close the 'black end' manufacturing operations and ancillary activities during 2015.

The 'black end' is responsible for the start of the titanium dioxide manufacturing process. The 'white end' is used to finish and pack TiO2 and will remain operational, employing up to 100 people on the site.

"With the recent deterioration in industry conditions, we have reviewed our manufacturing network in terms of cost and potential," said Huntsman CEO Peter R. Huntsman.

"We are confident that by rationalizing our capacity, we can continue to meet our customer's needs and improve our competitiveness as we create a market-leading pigments and additives business," he added.

This announcement is in addition to the company's plan announced in December 2014. Annual cost savings from that plan are expected to be approximately USD130 million and will be achieved by the middle of 2016, Huntsman says.

As MRC wrote previously, in October 2014, Huntsman Corporation completed the acquisition of the Performance Additives and Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) businesses of Rockwood Holdings.

Huntsman Corporation is a publicly traded global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals with 2013 revenues of over USD11 billion. Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals. The company's operating companies manufacture products for a variety of global industries, including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, textiles, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging.

BASF European production center for flooring and waterproofing systems starts operations

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF’s new European competence center for flooring and waterproofing systems at Oldenburg, Germany, has been fully operational since January 2015, reported the company on its site.

Manufacture of the Masters Builders Solutions products has been relocated from Schaffhausen, Switzerland. This relocation was the key step in the continuing development of business following the sale of the CONICA Sports Surfaces business and the Schaffhausen, Switzerland, facility in July 2013.

Besides Production, Customer Order Management, Sales, Marketing, Product Management, and Research and Development departments are now located at Oldenburg which has proven to be the right choice due to its location in the EU, the good infrastructure, and the competence of its employees.

"Our new center underlines our commitment to sustainable, long-term expansion for our flooring and waterproofing system segments. In addition, we are reinforcing our position as a reliable, innovative partner to our customers and providing support for them through individual solutions," says Philipp Kley, Senior Vice President of the Construction Chemicals Europe Business Unit. "Oldenburg is very well positioned thanks to the technical competence and experience of its employees and its infrastructure," completes Mark Pakowski, Oldenburg site manager.

The relocation of production equipment from Schaffhausen to Oldenburg took place in two stages to minimize negative impact on production operations. BASF has invested in logistics, facilities, production equipment, research and development. The added roll out of the tinting hubs (machines to color the floor systems) in Europe, increases flexibility, brings supply efficiency close to the customer and will improve the professional service significantly.

The MasterSeal range from BASF includes high-performance impregnation and waterproofing products to protect structures against the undesired ingress of water, moisture and contaminations from their surroundings. The products include rapid-hardening waterproofing agents for manual or sprayed application that can be used for the refurbishment and protection of many different types of buildings.

As MRC wrote before, in March 2013, BASF started to roll out its Master Builders Solutions brand in Asia Pacific as part of a phased launch process. The global brand is a sign for BASF's commitment to the construction industry and represents a wide range of construction chemical solutions previously sold under a variety of specialty brands.

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.

January SPVC imports into Russia dropped to a record low from 2005

MOSCOW (MRC) - Russia's imports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) dropped in January to a record low over the past ten years. The main reason for such a serious decline was a drop in demand and the rouble devaluation, according to MRC DataScope.

January imports of SPVC to the Russian market decreased to 708 tonnes, compared with 3,700 tonnes in December 2014 on the back of seasonally weaker demand and accelerating devaluation of the rouble. This record low of imports since 2005.

Structure of SPVC imports in the first month of 2015 was as follows. Imports of Chinese acetylene PVC in January fell to 654 tonnes, from 1,600 tonnes in December 2014. At the same time the market in January were entering SPVC contracted back in November. Total imports of Chinese acetylene PVC to the Russian market were 175,600 tonnes in 2014.

January imports of US SPVC was completely absent. Russian companies refused from buying US resin back in November because of the high export prices, supported by the weakening of the rouble, and long-term logistics. December imports of US SPVC in Russia were 1,600 tonnes. Total imports of US PVC into the country were about 60,000 tonnes in 2014.

January imports of European SPVC in Russia were about 54 tonnes, compared with about 500 tonnes in December 2014. Total imports of European SPVC into the country exceeded 33,000 tonnes in 2014.

Imports of SPVC into Russia are expected to decrease even lower because of the exchange rate fluctuations and significantly weaker price levels from Russian producers.


Aker Solutions Q4 net income rises 4.7%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Norwegian oil services firm Aker Solutions posted fourth-quarter earnings above expectations on Friday and maintained its medium-term guidance to grow with its key markets and at least maintain market share in its core subsea business, said Reuters.

The firm's earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 19 percent to 786 million Norwegian crowns (USD103 mln) in the fourth quarter, above expectations for 647 million in a Reuters poll of analysts and 661 million crowns a year ago.

Its order backlog fell slightly to 48.3 billion crowns from 49.0 billion three months earlier, but came above a mean forecast for 44.7 billion."We made good progress in the quarter on major subsea and engineering projects and also benefited from improvement programs across the business," said Aker Solutions CEO Luis Araujo.

The company’s full-year net income rose by 10.1% to NKr1.30bn, with sales up by 13.5% at NKr33bn.

As per MRC, Aker Solutions invested heavily to support the growth of the Asia Pacific region. This service base is a response to several new orders and recognition of the growing market demand in the region. Recently, Aker Solutions announced several investments in Malaysia including a new umbilical and a subsea service base, in addition to new equipment for its high-tech subsea manufacturing centre in Port Klang.

Aker Solutions provides oilfield products, systems and services for customers in the oil and gas industry world-wide.
Aker Solutions has approximately 3 100 employees in the UK. The company is one of Scotland"s largest employers with a workforce of more than 2 700 people in Aberdeen. In addition, the company has smaller offices and facilities in Great Yarmouth, Hastings, Maidenhead, Stockton-on-Tees and Whitstable. The company employs 25 000 people worldwide, and has annual revenues of approximately GBP 3.9 billion.

LG Chemical to shut PP plant in South Korea for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korean petrochemical company LG Chemical is likely to shut a polypropylene (PP) plant for maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that the plant is likely to be shut in late March 2015. It is expected to remain off-stream for around one month.

Located at Daesan in South Korea, the plant has a production capacity of 600,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, LG Chemical is also likely to shut its ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) plant for maintenance turnaround in end March 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream for around three weeks. Located at Daesan in South Korea, the plant has a production capacity of 140,000 mt/year.

Besides, LG Chem has recently unveiled its plans to shut down a styrene monomer (SM) plant for a one-month maintenance turnaround in South Korea in March 2015. Located in Daesan, South Korea, the plant has a production capacity of 180,000 mt/year.

LG Chem Ltd., often referred to as LG Chemical, is the largest Korean chemical company and is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. According to ICIS report, it is 15th biggest chemical company in the world in 2011. It has eight domestic factories and global network of 29 business locations in 15 countries. LG Chem is a manufacturer, supplier, and exporter of petrochemical goods, IT&E Materials and Energy Solutions.