Bayer MaterialScience buys composite materials specialist

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Through a business acquisition in southern Germany, Bayer MaterialScience has expanded its position on the future-oriented market for composite materials.

The company on oncluded the takeover of Thermoplast Composite GmbH (TCG) in Langenfeld, near Nuremberg, a technology leader specializing in the production of thermoplastic fiber composites. Bayer MaterialScience will use the acquisition to expand its range of products for important industries and thereby strengthen its leading position.
The company intends to market composites made from continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastics (composites). This is a new class of particularly thin and lightweight materials, whose properties offer superior performance in existing solutions based on aluminum, for example.

The takeover of TCG gives Bayer MaterialScience access to innovative technology know-how as well as key patents and facilities. All employees are to be retained. Bayer MaterialScience plans to expand TCG’s production capacity, the first step being to expand production in the Nuremberg metropolitan region. Capacities in other regions will be added subsequently to optimally supply customers. Bayer MaterialScience is already active in the development and marketing of composite solutions based on polyurethane systems.

Bayer MaterialScience has long been supplying numerous industries with products and application solutions based on polycarbonate and its associated blends. This material is extremely lightweight, strong, freely formable, easy to process and can be recycled multiple times. The company has also been working for some time now on the development of polycarbonate composites.

Bayer MaterialScience believes that polycarbonate composites are highly suited to such things as fabricating premium housings for the IT industry. These composites are an answer to the trend towards smaller dimensions and an impression of quality. And there is a number of additional advantages.

TCG could now more quickly and comprehensively realize the industrial manufacturing and broad-based market introduction of unidirectional thermoplastic advanced composites based on the innovative and patented proprietary technology platform. Consequently, the purchase would be the next logical step in TCG’s successful development.

As MRC wrote before, Bayer named Richard Pott as supervisory board chairman of its plastics unit MaterialScience, which it plans to float on the stock market as a separate company.

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech polymer materials. As an innovation company, it sets trends in research-intensive areas. Bayer’s products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power.


Borealis CEO says oil crash creates petrochemical expansion possibilities

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Borealis could take over projects or stakes in ventures making ethane, propene or fertilizers as companies look to reduce debt, streamline businesses or pull out, CEO Mark Garrett said in an interview, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Inflated stock market valuations mean Vienna­-based Borealis won’t buy a company outright, he said. Oil producers such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total have seen profit slide as crude prices slumped, prompting them to reduce project investments. Some smaller petrochemical companies are also cutting back.

"Wen they take out the machete to their project portfolios, not all of the projects they cut are terrible, they just don’t fit in their portfolio, so opportunities arise for other people,"Garrett said. Borealis’s bulk and integrated portfolio, from crackers to feedstocks and end-­products including plastics for auto parts and planes is helping it shrug off competition in emerging markets as well as in the US.

"his is not a bad situation, a lot of those massive US investments"made by other companies "are coming under pressure," Garrett said.

Borealis’s new Borouge 3 petrochemical facility in Abu Dhabi, costing more than USD4 billion, is ramping up production at a time when lower raw­-material prices are giving a temporary “reprieve” to smaller producers in Europe that had been struggling, the CEO said.

Like European competitor INEOS, Borealis plans to import ethane from the US to supplement supplies from the North Sea. Doing so remains viable even in the current environment, with the potential for double-­digit margins and improving economics as the oil price rises, Garrett said.

As MRC wrote before, Borouge, Borealis’ joint venture with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in Abu Dhabi, UAE, started the cracker in June, three out of five polyolefin plants started up in the period until year end. Borouge 3 will deliver an additional 2.5 million tonnes of capacity when fully ramped up, bringing the total Borouge capacity to 4.5 million tonnes, thus making Borouge the biggest integrated polyolefins complex in the world. Borealis and Borouge will then have approximately 8 million tonnes of polyolefin capacity.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. With headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Borealis currently employs around 6,500 and operates in over 120 countries. It generated EUR 8.3 billion in sales revenue in 2014.


March prices of European PP rose by EUR90/tonne for CIS countries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The March contract price for propylene in Europe was agreed by EUR105/tonne higher than in February. Nevertheless, most European producers raised their export polypropylene (PP) prices for the CIS markets less significantly than the price of monomer, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

Negotiations over March prices of European PP began on Monday. Many market participants said they managed to limit the growth of export prices by an average of EUR90/tonne, which is below the increase in monomer prices.

Many European producers suspended all their PP sales already in the second half of February in anticipation of the March price rise on the back of a major increase in oil prices. Negotiations over March shipments of homopolymer of propylene (homopolymer PP) to the CIS markets were negotiated this week in the range of EUR1,000-1,060/tonne, FCA.

Deals for block copolymers of propylene were negotiated by an average of EUR50-60/tonne higher.

Some companies said not all producers had made their offers for March PP shipments. Thus, the Romanian producer - Oltchim has had no export quotas since in mid-February.

Arkema implements a price increase on its EVA copolymers range

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema, a France-based chemical manufacturer, has announced a price increase of EUR100/tonne for its whole Evatane (high content ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer) range starting March 1, 2015, reported the company on its site.

During the past months, the EVA market was undergoing a price erosion that affected profitability. Due to the price hike of ethylene, we are forced to pass this increase to the market.

Marketed under the trademark Evatane, Arkema's EVA products are functional polyolefins used in highly diverse industrial applications, including hot-melt, cables, multilayer packaging films, technical polymers modification, solar panels, petroleum additives, bitumen and inks.

As MRC informed previously, in May 2014, Arkema last announced a price increase of EUR100/tonne on its whole Evatane EVA range, high content EVA copolymer effective from 1 May or as contracts allowed.

Arkema with annual revenue of EUR7.6 billion is a leading European supplier of chlorochemicals and PVC. Kynar and Kynar Flex are registered trademarks of Arkema Inc. Arkema operates 11 organic peroxide plants on the three continents.

BASF launched new offshore grout enhancing productivity and safety

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF, the German chemicals giant, and FoundOcean Ltd. have launched an integrated material and service system for the provision of a new high strength grout, MasterFlow 9800, in Edinburgh, UK, reported BASF on its site.

BASF will present the new product at its booth at the EWEA Offshore 2015 fair in Copenhagen, Denmark, from March 10 to 12.

The new MasterFlow 9800 high-strength grout is the result of over three years of joint development with FoundOcean Ltd., the primary purpose of which has been to deliver significant and quantifiable improvements in productivity and safety when grouting offshore structures. The material is especially formulated for large?scale applications where bulk grout supply and continuous mixing and pumping are a major benefit.

"MasterFlow 9800 was developed toward the demanding requirements of a highly challenging offshore application environment. Aligning the excellent properties of the new offshore grout with the operational advantages of FoundOcean’s continuous mixing and pumping equipment will bring major health and safety improvements and installation cost reductions", says Luc Westhof, Global Key Account Manager at BASF’s Construction Chemicals division.

MasterFlow 9800 is set to improve offshore grouting by introducing a high strength grout with important operational advantages. The material offers a number of superior properties, including extremely low autogenous shrinkage and excellent early strength development, even at cold temperatures, and high fatigue resistance. When combined with its operational advantages, these properties have the potential to provide significant reductions in grouting time cost optimization for the foundations installation, whilst ensuring the durability of the grouted connection.

As MRC reported earlier, in October 2014, BASF and Archroma agreed on the sale of BASF’s global textile chemicals business to Archroma, a supplier of specialty chemicals to the textile, paper and emulsions industries.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It 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.