DuPont investors to vote on Trian demands on May 13

MOSCOW (MRC) -- DuPont, embroiled in a proxy war with activist investor Trian Fund Management LP for board seats, said it would hold its annual shareholder meeting on May 13, said Reuters.

Trian is seeking four seats on DuPont's board, including one for its Chief Executive Nelson Peltz, to help it force the company to split into two. DuPont earlier this month rejected the hedge fund's proposal to add two nominees each to its board and the board of a unit it plans to spin off.

The chemical conglomerate, in an attempt to end the proxy war, has said it is prepared to accept one of the fund's nominees, but has refused to add Peltz to its board. DuPont had said is would spin off its performance chemicals business, but Peltz wants the company to also separate its volatile but cash flow-strong materials businesses from its nutrition and health, agriculture, and industrial biosciences divisions.

DuPont has rejected the proposal, stressing that keeping its businesses together would allow the company to benefit from its science platform, global scale, market access and brand. Peltz's Trian seemingly softened its stance on the break up in February, saying the fund was "open-minded" about keeping DuPont together.

However, Peltz said in interview to CNBC earlier this month that breaking up the company would be "the most efficient way" to get rid of USD2 billion to USD4 billion in costs.

"Trian's proposal grossly underestimates the significant upfront separation costs and dis-synergies associated with a breakup, both on a one-time and an ongoing basis," DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said in a letter to shareholders on Monday. A Trian spokeswoman declined to comment.

As MRC informed earlier, DuPont Co. posted an unexpected drop in fourth-quarter sales and forecast 2015 earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates. Revenue fell to USD7.38 billion from USD7.75 billion, Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont said in a statement Tuesday, compared with the USD7.79 billion average of 12 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Profit excluding some items was 71 cents a share, matching the average estimate.

DuPont is an American chemical company that was founded in July, 1802. The company manufactures a wide range of chemical products, leading extensive innovative research in this field. The company is the inventor of many unique plastics and other materials, including neoprene, nylon, Teflon, Kevlar, Mylar, Tyvek, etc. DuPont was the developer and main producer of Freon used in the production of refrigeration equipment.

BASF raises prices for 1,6-Hexanediol in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF, the world's petrochemical major, has increased its prices for 1,6-hexanediol (HDO) in Europe with immediate effect or as contracts allow by EUR80/tonne, as per the company's press release.

BASF’s customers use HDO to manufacture industrial coatings including lower volatile organic compound formulations, polyurethanes, adhesives and cosmetics. HDO also serves as a reactive thinner in the formulation of epoxy systems which are used for the efficient production of rotor blades for modern wind turbines as well as construction components for automotive lightweight applications.

BASF operates HDO production facilities at its Verbund sites in Freeport, Texas, and Ludwigshafen, Germany, with an annual production capacity of more than 50,000 tons of HDO.

As MRC informed earlier, in September 2014, BASF announced the start-up of a new butadiene extraction plant at its Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium. The plant has an annual production capacity of 155,000 metric tons.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. BASF had sales of about EUR74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year.

CNCC closes in on Pirelli takeover

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China National Chemical Corporation has reached an agreement with the controlling shareholders of tyremaker Pirelli with the aim of undertaking a EUR7bn takeover of the Italian group and delisting it from the Milan stock exchange, as per Financial Times.

Marco Tronchetti Provera, Pirelli chairman and chief executive, agreed the deal on Sunday with executives from CNCC, which has previously acquired businesses in Australia, France and Norway, according to people familiar with the matter. A statement is expected to be made on Monday.

The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Chinese investors in Italy, and the largest such deal so far. It will see CNCC acquire holding company Camfin, which owns 26 per cent of Pirelli, at EUR15 per share as a first step before launching a full takeover of the group.

Shareholders in Camfin, who include Mr Tronchetti Provera, Russian oil group Rosneft, and Italian banks UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, alongside CNCC intend to create a new holding company that will launch a full takeover offer for the remaining shares in the world’s fifth-largest tyre company by sales at the same price of €15 per share. If successful, Pirelli will delist from the Milan stock exchange by the summer.

The deal will mean that Rosneft, which is a target of US sanctions over Ukraine, will no longer be the largest shareholder in the tyremaker, a situation that has become uncomfortable for the group amid escalating tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine.

In a statement late on Sunday confirming the deal, CNCC and Camfin said it would allow Pirelli to double its volumes in the industrial tyres market from 6m to 12m. Mr Tronchetti Provera would remain chief executive of the group.

Mr Tronchetti Provera added that the deal would “guarantee Pirelli’s development and stability”, reflecting concerns among senior management within the company that without a transformative deal the Italian tyremaker would have become a target for a US or another Asian industrial rival. China’s largest chemical group with revenues of USD40bn.

As MRC informed earlier, Representatives of Russian Rosneft, Pirelli Tyre Russia and Rosneft- Armenia signed in Yerevan a memorandum of understanding today to establish a joint venture for production of butadiene- styrene rubber. The memorandum and several other agreements aimed at enhancing cooperation were signed after the meeting of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan with Rosneft head Igor Sechin.

Cepsa Canadian PTA business acquired by Indorama

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. (IVL; Bangkok, Thailand) has signed an agreement to acquire 100% shareholding of the Montreal-based purified terephthalic acid (PTA) business of Cepsa Quimica SA, Cepsa Chimie Montreal, said Chemengonline.

Cepsa’s plant is the only PTA facility in Canada, and one of only three PTA suppliers in North America. The acquisition, subject to the usual regulatory approvals, will allow the company to expand its footprint into Canada.

"This will be our inaugural entry into Canada," says Aloke Lohia, IVL group CEO. "Cepsa Chimie Montreal s.e.c. provides us the unique opportunity to acquire assets that will consolidate our North American polyester value chain businesses for added feedstock security. The acquisition is in line with our announced strategy to expand in our core businesses, primarily in the West."

Cepsa Chimie Montreal s.e.c. has, at this production site, a capacity of approximately 600,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of PTA and receives piped supply of its feedstock para-xylene from an adjacent refinery. The plant is logistically well-placed to economically serve customers via rail access or via the St. Lawrence River.

As MRC informed earlier, Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) informed that its subsidiary Indorama Petrochem Limited, Thailand has signed a definitive share purchase agreement with Bangkok Cable Company, Limited, a major shareholder, to acquire 94.91 percent equity stake in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polymers maker Bangkok Polyester Public Company Limited (BPC), Thailand.

Indorama Ventures is a leading producer in the polyester value chain in Thailand with strong global network and manufacturing across Asia, Europe and North America. Its products serve major players in diversified end use markets, including food, beverages, personal and home care, health care, automotives, textile, and industrial. The company’s main products are PTA, PET and polyester fibre, which are distributed across the world.

LyondellBasell to expand production capacity of tri-ethylene glycol

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell has announced plans to expand Tri-ethylene Glycol (TEG) production capacity at the company's existing ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol plant in Pasadena, Texas, reported the producer in its press release.

The additional capacity of 50 million pounds per year would more than double the company's current production capacity. Engineering is already underway on the new unit, which is anticipated to be operational in late 2016. It is expected to be one of the world's largest on-purpose TEG production units, meaning the TEG is produced by design and not as a by-product of another manufacturing process.

"The long-term demand for Tri-ethylene Glycol in oil-field, construction and automotive markets in North America, along with the company's feedstock integration to ethylene and ethylene oxide, makes this project a logical extension of our high-value glycol derivative businesses," said Pat Quarles, LyondellBasell executive vice president of Intermediates and Derivatives, Supply Chain and Procurement.

TEG is a colorless, odorless glycol that is used to dehydrate natural gas and as an additive in hydraulic and brake fluids, among other uses. The company's Bayport Underwood plant in Pasadena produces ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol, glycol ethers and other products. Glycol ethers are used to manufacture brake fluid, dyes, paint, solvents, commercial cleaners and waxes, detergents and cosmetic bases. Ethylene glycols are used as intermediate chemicals to produce polyester (PET) fibers, films and bottles.

As MRC wrote before, in May 2014, LyondellBasell received a key permit required in the company's multi-plant ethylene expansion program which, when fully operational, is expected to increase annual ethylene capacity by an estimated USD3.12 billion, for a total estimated capacity of USD19.9 billion in North America.

LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. The company manufactures products at 55 sites in 18 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.