Oltchim sell off fails again due to no show bidders

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Yet another attempt by the government of Romania to privatise the insolvent national PVC producer Oltchim has failed after none of four potential buyers finally submitted a firm bid by the deadline, said Plasticsnews.

Now, administrators of the loss making chemical company will present a new reorganisation plan for Oltchim later this month (February). The plan is expected to be submitted to the firm’s creditor representatives for approval in March.
It was in December last year that the latest bid to sell off the Romanian government’s 54.8% stake in Oltchim collapsed when the would-be investors pulled out at the last moment.

Among groups that had shown interest in Oltchim are a Chinese business consortium of Baota Petrochemical Group and Junlun Petroleum Co.; the Romanian SIF Transilvania investment firm; the Romanian chemicals group Chimcomplex Borzesti owned by businessman Stefan Vuza and an unnamed Turkish company.

“No one showed up, neither the Chinese group, nor the Turkish group, nor businessman Stefan Vuza, nor the Romanian investment fund SIF Transilvania. They proved to be unreliable investors,” the firm’s judicial administrator Gheorghe Piperea told the local news portal Economcia.net.

This was the latest of numerous abortive attempts by the government to dispose of its majority share in Oltchim since the troubled firm was declared insolvent in January 2013.

Ramnicu Valcea-based Oltchim is aiming to invest in new technology that will enable it to achieve lower energy consumption in order to improve its financial performance. Reorganisation of the business is essential for Oltchim to attract serious investor interest and a buyer, the government believes.

In the last year, Oltchim has improved its financial results, increasing its operational profit. In January this year, the firm is reported to have recorded a EUR700,000 profit although the government said it still only operated at 30% of capacity.

Oltchim administrators comprise BDO Business Restructuring and RomInsolv who are currently developing the restructuring plan.

Faurecia reports 5% sales growth for 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- France-based automotive supplier Faurecia has announced its 2014 annual financial results, reporting a 5.5% increase compared to 2013 from EUR18.03bn to EUR18.83bn, as per Europeanplasticsnews.

In Europe, product sales totalled EUR7.87bn in 2013 versus EUR7.41bn in 2013, an increase of 6.2%. In Asia, product sales reached EUR2.03 billion, compared with EUR1.71 billion in 2013, an increase of 19.0%. However in North America sales were down 5.7% from EUR3.71bn in 2013 to EUR3.50bn in 2014.

The company states that in 2014 global automotive production is estimated to have grown by 3.3%. In North America and Asia, automotive production increased by 5.0% and 4.1% respectively. Meanwhile automotive production grew by 3.2% in Europe, representing a total increase of 5.7% excluding Russia, where production fell by 16.0%.

Yann Delabriere, chairman and CEO of Faurecia said: "In 2014, Faurecia achieved a solid sales increase, mainly driven by outstanding growth in China, where sales rose by over 20% for the sixth consecutive year, and in Europe, where growth stood at 7%, much higher than the growth of automotive production. Faurecia accelerated its technological leadership in all of its Business Groups, with first orders for new technologies in emissions control for commercial vehicles, energy recovery and composite tailgates. Faurecia is well on the way to meeting its targets for 2016. I would like to thank the Group’s entire workforce for their contribution to our performance."

In 2015, Faurecia says that it expects global automotive production to grow by 3%, Europe (excluding Russia) between 2% and 4%, North America to grow at 3% and China at 7%. Faurecia anticipates for 2015 an increase in sales of 5%.

As of 31 December 2014 Faurecia employed 99,500 people in 34 countries at 330 sites and 30 R&D centres.


Formosa to shut down RFCC unit in Taiwan for maintenance next month

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC) is likely to shut a residual fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) in March, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Taiwan informed that the RFCC unit is planned to be taken offstream in March 2015. The unit will be taken offstream on March 11, 2015 and will remain shut till the end of March.

Located in Mailiao, Taiwan, the RFCC unit has a propylene production capacity of 375,000 mt/yr.

As MRC informed before, in August 2014, The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently issued three final GHG Prevention of Significant Deterioration construction permits for the Formosa Plastics facility in Point Comfort, Texas. Formosa is expanding its chemical complex, located near Victoria, and taking three actions with its turbines unit, olefins unit and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unit.

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).

TPC begins FEED process on polyisobutylene expansion in Houston

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The board of directors at TPC Group, a leading provider of C4 based products and services, has approved funds for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) to finalize the design and cost estimate to install a third polyisobutylene (PIB) production unit, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This project is targeted to satisfy future industry growth, mainly resulting from anticipated changes in fuel and lubricant additive standards beginning in the second half of 2017.

These higher standards are driving substantial growth in demand for highly-reactive polyisobutylene, which TPC Group manufactures using its proprietary process.

TPC says it is in discussions with customers regarding definitive off-take commitments for its third line.

In parallel with its third production unit engineering work, TPC continues to debottleneck its PIB capacity. Capacity has increased more than 20% since 2012 with significant progress made in 2014, according to company officials.

Additional debottlenecking efforts are continuing in 2015. This debottlenecking effort is targeted to supply the current and near-term needs of customers in the lubricant additives, sealants, adhesives and industrial lubricants segments.

TPC Group first entered the PIB industry in May 2000 with the startup of its patented process to produce a wide range of PIB products.

As MRC informed earlier, in summer 2014, PC Group and Honeywell's UOP entered into an agreement for UOP to be the exclusive licensor of the proprietary TPC Group OXO-D technology used to produce on-purpose butadiene, a key ingredient for making synthetic rubber.

TPC Group Inc. is a leading producer of value-added products derived from niche petrochemical raw materials such as C4 hydrocarbons, and provider of critical infrastructure and logistics services along the Gulf Coast region. TPC Group sells its products into a wide range of performance, specialty and intermediate markets, including synthetic rubber, fuels, lubricant additives, plastics and surfactants.

Total plans to cut jobs, sell assets after big loss

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil company, on Thursday became the latest casualty of the oil-price swoon, reporting a USD5.66 billion net loss for the latest financial quarter and promising to shed billions more in cost savings, including 2,000 layoffs by 2017, reported WSJ.

The company swung to a net loss for the three months to the end of December from a net profit of USD2.23 billion in the same quarter the previous year. Total wrote off USD6.5 billion of the value of its less profitable shale and oil-sands ventures, as well as its unprofitable European refineries.

Total said that it intends to become profitable at an oil price of USD70 a barrel.

Total Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said Thursday that the restructuring plan shows the company’s determination to come to grips with the shift in oil markets.

Mr. Pouyanne, who was holding his first corporate news conference as CEO since he succeeded the late Christophe de Margerie , insisted that he wasn't overreacting to the situation.

"We don't gamble at the casino. We need a company that resists whatever the barrel price is," he said at a news conference.

With new projects coming on stream, the company expects to raise its output by more than 8% in 2015 from 2.15 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2014.

As MRC wrote previously, in January 2014, Total called on peers to revise projects that require tens of billions of dollars of investment as costs escalate.

But Total intends to invest EUR160m before 2016 to adapt its petrochemical platform in Carling, in the Lorraine region of eastern France, and to restore its competitiveness. Total plans indeed to develop new activities on the platform in the growing markets for hydrocarbon resins (Cray Valley) and for polymers, while shutting down the acutely loss-making steam cracker in the second half of 2015.

Besides, in November 2014, Total unveiled its plans to permanently shut its high density polyethylene (HDPE) line with the capacity of 70,000 mt/year in Belgium.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.