PE prices continue to decrease in Uzbekistan

Moscow (MRC) - Weak demand continues to put pressure on polyethylene (PE) prices in Uzbekistan. This week export prices for high density polyethylene (HDPE) were cut by USD100/tonne, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

Since December, the demand for HDPE at the export trades Uzbek Republican Commodity Exchange greatly reduced, as a result, PE prices have been decreasing over for the past few months. The current week was no exception, polyethylene prices fell by USD100/tonne because of the almost complete lack of demand.

Earlier this week, was put up for the sale 1,400 tonnes of injection moulding HDPE, 1,300 tonnes blow moulding HDPE, 200 tonnes of pipe HDPE and 100 tonnes of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE). The low end of HDPE prices was at USD1,150/tonne FCA Kengsoy, for LLDPE at USD1,215/tonne, FCA Kengsoy.

Demand was seen only for the linear polyethylene, with the price for it increased to USD1,228/tonne FCA Kengsoy during the trades. Demand for HDPE last week was almost completely absent. There were only two bids for the purchase of 50 tonnes each, while HDPE prices have been reduced to the level of USD1,050/tonne FCA Kengsoy.
Many market participants said they hoped to further decline in export HDPE prices in Uzbekistan this week.

Styrolution makes changes to its management board

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Styrolution, the global leader in styrenics, is making three appointments to its management board, including two new regional presidents and a newly created position - president of operations, said the producer on its site.

Hyung Tae (HT) Chang, who currently serves as President, Asia Pacific will retire in July 2015 following over 41 years of service to the chemical industry.

Steve Harrington, currently President, Global Styrene Monomer, will assume an additional role as President, Asia Pacific, effective April 1, 2015. During Mr. Harrington's 25-year career, he has held various commercial roles at INEOS, and previously worked for ICI and Unilever. He holds a degree in chemistry from Hull University in England and currently serves as chairman of the Styrene Information and Research Center.

Rob Buntinx will join Styrolution's management board as President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, effective March 1, 2015. He will replace Kevin McQuade, who took over the reigns as Styrolution's Chief Executive Officer last month. Mr. Buntinx currently serves as Senior Vice President of Styrolution's organizational unit, Global Focus Industries and R&D, and will retain this responsibility in his new role. Over the course of his 25-year career, Mr. Buntinx has held management positions at Styrolution, BASF and DSM. Mr. Buntinx received a degree in chemical engineering from Hogeschool Zuyd in the Netherlands.

Pierre Minguet will fill a newly created position on Styrolution's management board as President of Operations, effective March 1, 2015. This new role will further drive Styrolution's manufacturing and technology excellence programs globally. Mr. Minguet currently serves as Senior Vice President, EMEA Manufacturing. Throughout his 20-year career, he has held management positions at Styrolution, Ineos, BP and Amoco. Mr. Minguet holds a master's degree in chemical engineering from Faculte Polytechnique de Mons in Belgium.

As MRC reported previously, in May 2014, Styrolution inaugurated a new line for the high performance styrenic specialty product Absolan at its Katol site located in Gujarat, India. The new 40,000 mt line intends to meet the growing demand for Absolan across key growth industries in India, such as household, electronics, automotive. Absolan customers will benefit from improved local service and greater security of supply.

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.

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.