Saint-Gobain extends Sika agreement with Burkard family

MOSCOW (MRC) - French building materials company Saint-Gobain (SGOB.PA) said it has extended an agreement with the Burkard-Schenker family that would see it take control of Switzerland's Sika in order to give it time to complete the deal in the face of opposition, said Reuters.

The French group agreed in December to buy from the Burkard-Schenker family a 16.1 percent stake that carries 52.4% of Sika's voting rights, enough for control and a far cheaper option than buying the whole company.

The Swiss chemicals firm's management and many shareholders have objected to the move, arguing that Saint-Gobain is abusing the company's bylaws and that the extra voting rights are not transferable.

"Saint-Gobain is determined to go through with this transaction and is engaged in a long-term strategy," a spokeswoman for the group said. "We can be patient if we need to."

The French company said the agreement with the family relating to the sale of the shares of Schenker-Winkler Holding, which holds a controlling stake in Sika, had now been extended by at least six months until June 30, 2016, with an option to extend it further.

As MRC informed before, Sika AG reported a 28% increase in annual profit as the Swiss construction and industrial chemical maker continues fending off a hostile takeover bid from France's Saint-Gobain SA.

Sika is a specialty chemicals company with a leading position in the development and production of systems and products for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing and protecting in the building sector and the motor vehicle industry. Sika has subsidiaries in 90 countries around the world and manufactures in over 160 factories. Its more than 16,000 employees generated annual sales of CHF 5.6 billion in 2014.
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Celanese converts coal-fired boiler plant to environmentally-friendly gas-fired boilers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has announced it has completed the conversion of its Narrows, Va., operation to natural gas-fired boilers, as per the company's press release.

Celanese invested USD150 million to replace its coal-fired boilers with natural gas to generate the steam needed to run the plant's electrical generators and processes.

"The completion of this project is a concrete example of our commitment to carrying out two important Celanese core values - Being Sustainable and Improving the World," said Jon Mortimer, vice president of Manufacturing & Capital Projects, Celanese. "This is a milestone in Celanese's continued growth and an opportunity for us to do our part to create a cleaner environment for the communities where we operate."

"Celanese's investment in its Narrows, Virginia, plant speaks volumes to the commitment the company has made to improve the well-being of the people of Giles County," said Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA). "This project has impacted the State of Virginia and its residents in many positive ways, particularly by creating new job opportunities."

The Celanese Narrows plant has been in operation for 75 years. Celanese's boiler equipment conversion project provided more than 300 jobs in Giles County during the duration of the project as well as the continued support of more than 1,000 existing jobs. The plant is one of the world's largest producers of cellulose acetate tow, a natural and environmentally friendly product that is used for filtration applications.

As MRC reported earlier, in May 2014, Celanese Corporation announced its intent to construct a EVA emulsions production unit in Southeast Asia. The unit is expected to begin production by mid-2016.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Texas, Celanese employs approximately 7,500 employees worldwide and had 2014 net sales of USD6.8 billion.
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Trinseo introduces supplier code of conduct

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo has introduced a Supplier Code of Conduct to its key suppliers, according to the company's press release.

The Supplier Code of Conduct (SCoC) outlines the minimum standards that Trinseo expects all its suppliers to comply with when doing business with the company.

"Trinseo’s commitment to global citizenship and sustainability extends through our supply chain, and we expect Trinseo suppliers to conduct their operations in a socially and environmentally responsible manner," said Catherine Maxey, vice president of Public Affairs, Sustainability and EH&S. "Supplier codes of conduct are becoming more prevalent in our industry, as more companies are being held publicly accountable for not only their own actions, but also those of their supply chains."

The Trinseo Supplier Code of Conduct is founded on three basic principles:

1. The company expects its suppliers to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
2. Trinseo encourages its suppliers to adhere to the highest principles of environmental responsibility, sustainability, ethical behavior, corporate social responsibility (CSR), fair labor practice and a safe healthy workplace.
3. The company expects all its suppliers to operate responsibly and in a manner that is consistent with Trinseo’s Code of Conduct and related Ethics and Compliance Policies.

The code includes sections on: management systems, human and worker rights, environment, health and safety, business ethics, material sourcing, and compliance and reporting.

Trinseo is a leading 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. Trinseo had approximately USD5.3 billion in revenue in 2013, with 19 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,100 employees. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in the first quarter of 2015.
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Paraxylene unit explosion injures many at Dragon Aromatics in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A plant in southeast China that produces a toxic chemical was rocked by its second explosion in 20 months, prompting a rescue operation by the nation’s army and reviving concerns about the safety of industrial projects, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

As MRC reported earlier, the blast happened around 7 p.m. (1100 GMT) at a pumping station for a condensate storage at the Dragon Aromatics' plant in Zhangzhou in Fujian province that produces paraxylene, or PX, a chemical used in making polyester fibre and plastics.

The army deployed 118 soldiers and 25 specialized vehicles after the blast at the paraxylene-making Dragon Aromatics facility in Zhangzhou, People’s Liberation Daily reported on Weibo, a microblogging service. Local residents have been transferred to four sites that are 18 kilometers (11 miles) away from the plant, the Beijing Times newspaper said. Nobody answered calls to the plant’s office.

Six people were hospitalized, and another 13 were treated for minor injuries, according to the official Xinhua news agency. A fire in the plant’s xylene facility because of an oil leak led to explosions at three tanks, according to Xinhua. The local fire department said on its official microblog that 122 firefighting vehicles and 610 people are involved in the rescue operation.

About 400 people living near the blast site were evacuated Monday night, state-run China News Service reported on its website.

China is seeking to reduce industrial accidents, and the government last year ordered a nationwide overhaul of safety practices at factories handling explosive materials. A blast killed at least 75 workers in Kunshan city in August, while Premier Li Keqiang intensified efforts to improve workplace safety after explosions at an underground oil pipeline killed 62 in the eastern port city of Qingdao in 2013.

Dragon Aromatics, owned by Xianglu Group, a Taiwanese petrochemical group, is one of the largest independently-run PX producers in China.
MRC

Huntsman Completes EUR300 mln private offering of senior notes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Huntsman Corporation has announced that it has completed its previously announced EUR300 million offering of 4.25% Senior Notes due 2025 through its wholly owned subsidiary, Huntsman International LLC, as per the company's press release.

Huntsman intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to redeem a portion of its 8.625% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2021 and pay associated accrued interest. In connection with this transaction, Huntsman expects to incur charges of approximately USD21 million related to the early extinguishment of debt in the second quarter of 2015.

Kimo Esplin, Executive Vice President and CFO, stated, "We continue to lower the cost of borrowing with the issuance of these Euro notes. Our annual interest expense will decrease by approximately USD11 million. In addition, denominating more of our debt in Euro currency will reduce our net long Euro cash flow position."

As MRC wrote previously, in October 2014, Huntsman commenced preliminary engineering to expand production of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) by investment in a new, world-scale MDI plant at its complex in Geismar, Louisiana, US. The 400,000-tpy expansion will leverage the significant advantages of the Geismar site, with its access to US shale gas, strong logistics base and excellent integration. The new capacity is expected to come on-stream in 2018 and will enable Huntsman to further support the global growth of its customers.

Huntsman Corporation is a publicly traded global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals with 2014 revenues of approximately USD13 billion including the acquisition of Rockwood’s performance additives and titanium dioxide businesses. The company's chemical products number in the thousands and are sold worldwide to manufacturers serving a broad and diverse range of consumer and industrial end markets. Huntsman operates more than 100 manufacturing and R&D facilities in more than 30 countries and employ approximately 16,000 associates within the company's 5 distinct business divisions.
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