Amcor buys South African Nampak Flexibles

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Australia-based packaging solution provider Amcor Ltd. is buying South African packaging company Nampak Flexibles for USD22 million, as per Canplastics.

With three plants throughout South Africa, including KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, Nampak Flexibles has extrusion, lamination and conversion capabilities and generates annual sales of approximately US$94 million. The business services customers in the beverage, food and homecare end markets.

Amcor specialises in supplying a range of rigid and flexible packaging products to the food, beverage, healthcare, home and personal care and tobacco packaging industries.

"This acquisition provides a platform for growth in the African region," said Amcor CEO and managing director, Ken MacKenzie. "Nampak Flexibles has an experienced management team and is the market leader in South Africa. It services many of Amcor’s existing global customers and creates the opportunity to leverage our product innovation and design capabilities into this market."

Nampak expects to complete the acquisition, which is subject to certain conditions, in the second half of 2015.

As MRC informed earlier, Amcor Ltd. is rapidly expanding its presence in the Asian market. The company’s top official in the region said it will soon announce plans for a new plant.

Amcor Limited is an Australian-based multinational packaging company. It operates manufacturing plants in 42 countries. It is the world's largest manufacturer of plastic bottles.

Tianjin Dagu to take off-stream SM plant in China for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Tianjin Dagu Chemical is likely to shut a styrene monomer (SM) plant for maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the plant is planned to be shut in early April 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream for around one month.

Located in Tianjin, China, the plant has a production capacity of 500,000 mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, Idemitsu Kosan, one of Japan’s largest refining and petrochemical companies, is likely to shut its SM plant for a maintenance in April 2015. It is expected to remain off-stream for around three months. Located at Chiba in Japan, the SM plant has a production capacity of 210,000 mt/yr.

Besides, Denki Kagaku Kabushiki Kaisha (Denka) is in plans to shut its SM plant for maintenance in Q1, 2016. The duration of the shutdown could not be ascertained. Located at Chiba in Japan, the plant has a production capacity of 270,000 mt/year.

Also, Grand Pacific Petrochemical Corporation (GPPC) is likely to shut its SM plant for maintenance in November 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream for around one month. Located in Tashe, Taiwan, the plant has a production capacity of 140,000 mt/year.

U.S. to look into imports of plastic packaging materials

MOSCOW (MRC) - U.S. trade officials will look into whether imports of clear plastic resin, used in bottles and packaging, from China and other countries are being sold too cheaply in the United States, a move that could lead to import duties, as per Reuters.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said it would investigate a complaint about dumping of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin, used to make soft drink bottles and other packaging, from China, India, Oman and Canada. It will also look into government subsidies for products from China, India and Oman.

The complaint was lodged by DAK Americas, a subsidiary of Mexico's Alfa S.A.B. de C.V., M&G Chemicals, and Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, America, a subsidiary of Taiwan's Nan Ya Plastics Corporation.

As MRC informed earlier, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has set up a panel to take up Pakistan’s complaint against the European Union (EU) for imposing countervailing duties on the export of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – a synthetic widely used to manufacture polyester fibre. The WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) established the panel on March 25 to study the complaint related to the trade-restrictive tax measures imposed by the EU on Pakistan’s exports of PET.

Comperj project cost rises by over USD40 bln since 2006, viability questioned

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Cost estimates at the Comperj refinery project have escalated to USD47.7 bln from USD6.5 bln in 2006, with Brazil's auditing TCU body claiming negligence and lack of transparency on the part of national oil company Petrobras, in breach of federal laws, as per BNAmericas.

No comments are available from the company. The cost overruns were not an isolated case, however. Months after the official unveiling in 2006, the total investment increased to USD8.4 billion as a result of a change in the scope of the project, the report said.

As MRC wrote previously, Petroleo Brasileiro SA is delaying its exit from Argentina’s petrochemical business as it focuses on a graft case in Brazil, two people familiar with the process said in December 2014. Petrobras received a joint offer for its 34% stake in Cia. Mega SA from partners YPF and Dow Chemical, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Petrobras is an integrated energy firm. Petrobras' activities include exploration, exploitation and production of oil from reservoir wells, shale and other rocks as well as refining, processing, trade and transport of oil and oil products, natural gas and other fluid hydrocarbons, in addition to other energy-related activities.

Petro Rabigh takes ownership of Phase II, signs financing agreements with lenders

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh) has received ownership of the Rabigh Phase II project from Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical, major shareholders in Petro Rabigh, and will now integrate the project into Petro Rabigh's existing refining and petrochemical complex in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia, reported GV.

The Rabigh II project, expected to cost about USD 8.1-billion, involves expanding an existing ethane cracker and adding production of ethylene propylene rubber, thermoplastic polyolefins, methyl methacrylate monomer, polymethyl methacrylate, low-density polyethylene/ethylene vinyl acetate, paraxylene/benzene, cumene and phenol/acetone. Production facilities are expected to begin operations "one after another, beginning in the first half of 2016," Sumitomo said.

In addition to the ownership transfer, Petro Rabigh has signed project financing agreements, totaling approximately USD 5.2-billion, with a syndicate of banks to help finance the Rabigh II project.

Petro Rabigh will receive about USD 2-billion in financing from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and USD 1.3-billion from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, both of which are governmental financial institutions.

Funding will also come from a group of 19 financial institutions from Japan, Saudi Arabia, Europe and the US.

"The project, which will utilize state-of-the-art technologies from Sumitomo Chemical and other companies, will seek to maximize synergies with the Rabigh Phase I project," Sumitomo noted.

As MRC informed earlier, in 2010, Petro Rabigh signed an agreement with Tasnee and Saudi Advanced Industries (SAIC) for the supply of propylene oxide to the joint venture for the production of polyether polyol. The plant is located in Rabiga, in the west of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea.

PetroRabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, has an annual output capacity of 18 million tonnes of refined products and 2.4 million tonnes of petrochemicals. Thus, the complex currently has a cracker to produce 1.3-million t/y of ethylene and 900,000 t/y of propylene, as well as downstream production of polyethylene, polypropylene, propylene oxide, ethylene glycol and butene-1.