Total expands into plastics for automotive solutions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- On February 25, 2015, Total acquired a majority 68% interest in Germany's Polyblend, which manufactures polymer plastics intended primarily for the automotive industry, said the company in its press release.

The transaction is aligned with the Group's strategy of developing higher-value-added polymers and differentiating itself in markets away from commodity plastics.

Total recently began building two polypropylene compounding lines at the Carling Platform as part of its project to secure the French site's future. The lines are scheduled to start up in mid-2016.

"The acquisition allows Total to consolidate its position in the fast-growing market for polymers for automotive solutions," explains Philippe Sauquet, President of Total’s Refining & Chemicals.

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.

Ineos is to integrate Ineos ABS into its Styrolution business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos’ Styrolution business, the global leader in styrenics and Ineos ABS, the largest fully integrated producer of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) in North America are to bring together their business activities in the Americas, said the company in its press release.

Both are wholly owned Ineos companies.

Customers in the Americas will benefit from the combined strength of the standard and specialty ABS portfolios, as well as other styrenic specialties. In addition, customers will further profit from the polymer expertise Styrolution and Ineos ABS offer in key customer industries, such as automotive and healthcare.

This move will not only enrich Styrolution’s standard and specialty ABS offering to customers but it also establishes Styrolution as the clear market leader in ABS in the Americas. The company aims to implement the integration measures by the end of 2015.

The planned integration also helps to drive two key components of Styrolution’s Triple Shift strategy, namely bolstering the company’s market position in styrenic specialties and standard ABS, as well expanding the company’s position in higher growth customer industries. Triple Shift further calls for a third component, namely the expansion of Styrolution’s global footprint in emerging markets.

Alexander Gluck, President Americas, Styrolution: "We are looking forward to a unified market approach with our colleagues at Ineos ABS. The combination of our businesses will better serve customers, who will benefit from the rich product and service offerings of both companies, as well as our collective polymer expertise across key industries. I am also confident this move will open up a host of new growth opportunities for both customers and Styrolution, giving us a chance to show what 'Driving Success. Together.' really means."

Andy Currie, Director, Ineos Capital and Chairman, Styrolution: "Now that Styrolution is a full-fledged member of INEOS, the integration of our two businesses makes perfect sense and presents tremendous opportunities for growth. Together as Styrolution, Ineos offer a one-stop styrenics shop to customers. It is something that no other company can offer on this scale and that is powerful for us and our customers."

As MRC wrote previously, in mid-November 2014, following clearance by the competition authorities, Ineos successfully completed the purchase of BASF’s 50% share in Styrolution, a joint venture between the companies. The purchase price for the acquisition is EUR1.1 billion. Styrolution continued to operate as a stand-alone Business within Ineos Industries Holdings Limited.

Ineos is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products. It comprises 15 businesses each with a major chemical company heritage. Its production network spans 65 manufacturing facilities in 16 countries throughout the world, employing 17000 people.

Styrolution is the leading, global styrenics supplier with a focus on styrene monomer, polystyrene, ABS Standard and styrenic specialties. With world-class production facilities and more than 80 years of experience, Styrolution helps its customers succeed by offering the best possible solution, designed to give them a competitive edge in their markets. The company provides styrenic applications for many everyday products across a broad range of industries, including automotive, electronics, household, construction, healthcare, toys/sports/leisure, and packaging. In 2014, sales were at EUR5.4 billion. Styrolution employs approximately 3,100 people and operates 15 production sites in nine countries.

Ineos ABS (USA) is the largest producer of SAN (styrene-acrylonitrile polymers), the second largest producer of ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene polymers), and the leading regional producer of SMA (styrene-maleic anhydride polymers) in North America. It provides a comprehensive portfolio of high quality ABS, SAN and SMA polymers.

Trinseo Q4 net loss widens on lower sales

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo (TSE), a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber, reported its fourth quarter and full year 2014 financial results with revenue of USD1,122 million and USD5,128 million, respectively, and Adjusted EBITDA excluding inventory revaluation of USD104 million and USD326 million, said the company in its press release.

Revenue in the fourth quarter decreased 10% versus prior year driven by the pass through of lower raw material cost as well as currency. Sequentially, revenue decreased 14% due to the pass through of lower raw material cost as well as lower sales volume, particularly in the Styrenics segment, due to weak demand, seasonality, and customer destocking.

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter decreased USD61 million versus prior year driven by inventory revaluation, as the price of our major raw materials declined significantly during the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA excluding inventory revaluation increased USD23 million versus prior year due to higher styrene monomer margins and higher equity affiliate income. Sequentially, Adjusted EBITDA decreased USD29 million. Adjusted EBITDA excluding inventory revaluation increased USD42 million driven by higher styrene margins, higher margins in our derivative businesses from lower raw material costs, as well as higher equity affiliate income.

Full year revenue decreased 3% versus prior year due primarily to the pass through of lower raw material costs. Adjusted EBITDA for the year decreased USD16 million due to inventory revaluation in the fourth quarter. Adjusted EBITDA excluding inventory revaluation increased USD8 million versus prior year driven by improved performance in the Synthetic Rubber and Engineered Polymers.

Fourth Quarter Results and Commentary by Business Segment

Synthetic Rubber revenue of $137 million decreased 7% versus prior year due to the pass through of lower raw material costs as well as currency. These impacts were partially offset by higher SSBR sales volume which set a record high in the quarter, and was 21% higher than prior year. Adjusted EBITDA of USD30 million was USD12 million below prior year due to inventory revaluation and currency. Excluding the impact of inventory revaluation, performance was similar to the normal run rate and in line with expectations. For the full year, SSBR sales volume was up 28% over 2013, and we continue to invest in new technologies and products to serve the fast-growing performance tire market.

Styrenics revenue of USD452 million decreased 15% versus prior year due mostly to the pass through of lower raw material costs as well as currency. In addition, lower sales volume decreased revenue by about 1% driven by weak demand in Asia as customers continued to destock with the declining styrene prices. Adjusted EBITDA of negative USD4 million was USD56 million below prior year primarily due to the impact of inventory revaluation. Excluding the impact of inventory revaluation, performance was slightly lower than prior year due to customer destocking in polystyrene. Higher styrene production margins during the quarter, as well as higher equity affiliate income, were offset by lower volume and margin in styrenic polymers.

Engineered Polymers revenue of USD247 million decreased 5% due to currency as well as lower sales volume. Lower sales volume to the automotive market in Latin America and to the polycarbonate market in North America, with our exit of that business, were partially offset by higher sales volume to the consumer electronics market in Asia as well as the automotive market in Europe and North America. Adjusted EBITDA of USD8 million was USD6 million above prior year despite negative inventory revaluation impacts. Favorability versus prior year was driven by the exit of the polycarbonate contract manufacturing agreement in Freeport, TX as well as higher sales volume.

As MRC informed previously, Trinseo has reported its third quarter of 2014 financial results with revenue of USD1,3 million and adjusted EBITDA of USD62 million. Revenue in the third quarter was roughly flat to prior year as higher SSBR volume and a favorable foreign exchange impact were offset by lower price which was primarily driven by the pass through of lower raw material cost. Sequentially, revenue decreased by 3% due to lower sales volume, with seasonality and weaker economic conditions in Europe, as well as an unfavorable currency impact as the US dollar strengthened compared to the euro.

Trinseo (TSE) is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo’s technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in the first quarter of 2015.


BASF to expand German specialty amine capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF is significantly expanding its production capacity for about 20 specialty amines at its Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, said the producer on its site.

BASF says it will invest a double-digit million euro amount in expanding current production facilities, which are planned to go on stream gradually by early 2017. The specialty amines are especially used for the manufacturing of coatings, lubricants, crop protection products and pharmaceuticals.

With this investment, BASF strengthens its worldwide amine production network with plants in Ludwigshafen and Schwarzheide, Germany, in Antwerp, Belgium, in Geismar, Louisiana and in Nanjing, China.

"This investment will allow us to meet the growing demand that our European customers have for specialty amines," said Stefan Blank, president of BASF's intermediates division.

In March and April 2014, BASF announced the construction of two new multiple product plants for the manufacturing of specialty amines at the BASF Verbund sites in Ludwigshafen, Germany and Nanjing, China, where startup is planned for 2015.

With about 200 different amines, BASF says it has the world’s most diverse portfolio of this type of chemical intermediates. Along with alkyl-, alkanol-, alkoxyalkylamines, the company offers heterocyclic and aromatic as well as specialty amines. The range is completed by an expanding portfolio of chiral amines of high optical and chemical purity.

The versatile products are used mainly to manufacture process chemicals, pharmaceuticals and crop protection products, as well as cosmetic products and detergents. They also serve to produce coatings, special plastics, composites and special fibers.

As MRC informed previously, BASF will build a new world scale production plant to manufacture specialty amines at its existing wholly-owned site in the Nanjing Chemical Industry Park in China. The plant, which is scheduled to come on stream in late 2015, will have dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA) and polyetheramines (PEA) as the main products. With this new facility BASF will further strengthen its global production network. The new plant complements existing facilities in Germany and the US for DMAPA and PEA.

The BASF Group’s Intermediates division develops, produces and markets a comprehensive portfolio of more than 700 intermediates around the world. Its most important product groups include amines, diols, polyalcohols, acids and specialties. Among other applications, intermediates are used as starting materials for coatings, plastics, pharmaceuticals, textiles, detergents and crop protectants. Around the globe the division generated sales to third parties of about EUR2.8 billion in 2013.

European pipe HDPE rose by EUR120-170/tonne for March for CIS markets

MOSCOW (MRC) - Because of the ethylene price rise European producers announced as a serious increase of the prices of polyethylene (PE). At the same time, export prices of pipe high density polyethylene (HDPE) have grown not proportionally o the prices of ethylene, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

Contract price of ethylene in Europe for March delivery was agreed up by EUR100/tonne than in February, which leads to the same increase in the cost of production of PE. However, European producers announced an increase in export prices of pipe HDPE by EUR120-170/tonne, compared with the level of February.

Deals for coloured PE100 were discussed in the range EUR1,150-1,200/tonne, FCA. Deals for coloured PE80 were agreed in the range EUR1,120-1,160/tonne, FCA. Most producers continue to limit their PE export quotas.