Borealis listing is still an option, but not yet - CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A stock market debut for Austrian plastics and fertilizer maker Borealis is still on the table but no concrete talks have taken place yet, Chief Executive Mark Garrett told Reuters.

An initial public offering (IPO) has been in the offing since 2005, when Austrian energy company OMV, which owns 36% of the group, and majority owner Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund IPIC took over Borealis.

But an IPO would have to wait at least until new OMV Chief Executive Rainer Seele has resolved the restructuring of OMV's refining and marketing business and found a new boss for exploration and production, which would probably take at least 18 months, Garret said.

"There is a lot of stuff to be done over there," he said.

"What could be more likely...and I think that's been a standing statement from both OMV and IPIC - about the potential in the future (is) that there could be an IPO," he added

Garrett said he would prefer Borealis to remain private, not least as it raked in a net profit of EUR571 million (USD619.76 million) in 2014 and was not strapped for cash to make investments and acquisitions.

"We're searching for opportunities. We're generating a lot of cash, so we don't need to raise any capital, we need to find good opportunities to allocate that capital," Garrett said.

Borealis - which makes plastic pellets for highly specialized products such as power cables, medical supplies and water or gas pipes - is looking at Asia as a growth market for its pellet production and North America for access to gas feedstock.

Central and eastern Europe's agriculture business could be another growth market for Borealis's fertilizer section, he said, adding the company is focusing on making an annual net profit of between EUR500 million and EUR1 billion.

As MRC wrote previously, in May 2014, Jacobs Engineering Group received a contract from Borealis to provide engineering, procurement, project management and construction management services for a project to increase cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) capacity at its manufacturing site in Stenungsund, Sweden. Borealis’ Stenungsund facilities include a PE plant, a cracker for ethylene and propylene production, and an innovation center focused on research and development for infrastructure markets.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. The only polyethylene (PE) producer in Sweden, Borealis’ Stenungsund facilities include a PE plant, a cracker for ethylene and propylene production, and an innovation center focused on research and development for infrastructure markets.

Mexico makes progress on talks to import US oil for Pemex refineries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexico is making progress in its efforts to become the second country approved to accept US oil exports, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Petroleos Mexicanos, Mexico’s state-owned oil company, is still waiting on a ruling from the US Commerce Department on its January application to be able to get up to 100,000 bpd of light US oil in exchange for heavy Mexican oil, Lourdes Melgar, Mexico’s deputy energy secretary for hydrocarbons, said in an interview in Washington.

"From the information that I have, everything has been moving smoothly," Melgar said. "We have gotten support from the US government, and it’s moving fine."

The US oil would be used at Pemex refineries in Salamanca, Tula and Salina Cruz, that have a combined capacity of 825,000 bpd, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. After decades of relying on domestic production, Mexico’s government approved energy reforms last year that allowed its refiners to import oil.

Mexico’s national power company CFE wants to shift power generation feedstock away from fuel oil and toward natural gas, Melgar said. Lighter crude produces less fuel oil than the heavy crude Mexico produces, so the imports are needed for a more balanced refining slate, she said.

US crude production has increased by 72% in the past five years, leading companies like ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil to call for the US to end its 40-year-old ban on most unrefined crude exports. Shipments to Canada are allowed, and the US exported a record 502,000 bpd in November.

As MRC informed previously, in October 2014, Mexico's state oil company Pemex and Exxon Mobil Corp signed a non-commercial agreement on Thursday to jointly explore potential upstream and downstream business opportunities.

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world"s second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS).

Lanxess formed new Rhien Chemie Additives business unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lanxess has combined the activities of the former Rhein Chemie and Functional Chemicals business units with the specialties business of the previous Rubber Chemicals business unit to form the new Rhein Chemie Additives business unit, said the producer on its site.

"The merged businesses are not only optimally adapted to meet customers’ needs, they also complement each other perfectly. We stand for tailor-made solutions, top technical know-how and the ultimate in additives expertise," says Anno Borkowsky, head of the Rhein Chemie Additives business unit. "We develop, produce and market additives, phosphorus chemicals and specialty chemicals and service products for the worldwide rubber, lubricants and plastics industries. We also manufacture organic and inorganic colorants. Our high-quality products improve the processability of materials and give the finished articles the desired properties," he says, talking about the core business.

Rhein Chemie Additives is divided up into four areas (Plastic Additives Business, Rubber Additives Business, Lubricant Additives Business and Colorant Additives Business) and operates an international production network with sites in Europe, Asia, and North and South America.

"“With our own laboratories and technical competence centers in all parts of the world, we can respond quickly and flexibly to the needs of our customers and develop and test individual formulations on the spot," adds Borkowsky.

Through this merger the company offers customers an even broader range of high-quality additives and outstanding applications technology expertise. According to Borkowsky, Rhein Chemie Additives' good global orientation is opening up a wealth of new growth prospects in many business areas and further strengthening the company's competitive position.

As MRC reported earlier, in July 2013, German specialty chemicals company Lanxess opened its first production facility in Russia. In the new plant at the Lipetsk site, Lanxess subsidiary Rhein Chemie manufactures polymer-bound rubber additives for the markets in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), primarily for the automotive and tire industries. A production facility for the bladders used in tire production is to be added in 2016. The overall investment volume in euros amounts to a seven-digit figure and 40 new jobs will be created at the new plant in the medium term.

Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 8.0 billion in 2014 and about 16,600 employees in 29 countries. The company is currently represented at 52 production sites worldwide. The core business of Lanxess is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.

EU expands energy price probe with ethanol raids

MOSCOW (MRC) -- European Union antitrust regulators conducted fresh raids on ethanol companies, escalating a probe into the possible rigging of fuel-price benchmarks begun two years ago, as per Bloomberg.

An Abengoa SA unit was among the sites inspected by European Commission investigators, said two of the people who declined to be identified because the matter is private. Tereos SA’s premises were also raided, the other person said. The unannounced inspections began on March 24, they said.

The surprise visits add pressure on the ethanol industry after an earlier round of raids last year targeted Swedish producer Lantmaennen Agroetanol and Alcogroup’s Alcodis unit. The probe was first made public in May 2013 after EU officials inspected oil-price publisher Platts, BP, Statoil, Royal Dutch Shell and Argos Energies. All of the companies have denied violations of antitrust rules.

In the wake of an international probe of banks that rigged the London Interbank Offered Rate, the EU said that providers of market data for oil and biofuels may also have colluded when they reported prices used to establish benchmarks for global fuel sales.

Regulators said that even small distortions of prices used as benchmarks for commodities and derivatives may have a huge impact on the prices of crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels purchases and sales that may have been passed on to final customers. Officials said at the time there was no deadline for the investigation.

Abengoa, owner of continental Europe’s biggest bioethanol plant, was also raided two years ago. Patricia Malo de Molina, a spokeswoman for Abengoa, said the Seville, Spain-based company is “actively cooperating” with the commission in its investigations into the ethanol market, without confirming fresh raids had taken place.


ELIX Polymers launch the new generation of ABS materials for the automotive industry

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ELIX Polymers introduced the new range of high heat ABS grades with very low emissions and high flowability, reported the company on its site.

This latest innovative product development meets the stringent requirements of the automotive industry and is suitable for all interior and exterior applications. This high heat ABS offers well balanced mechanical properties, low emission/odor, high heat resistance and excellent processability and paintability.

As part of their Innovation Strategy, ELIX is working on a more sustainable product portfolio with products based on renewable source raw materials. In 2014 this company was awarded with a EEA and Norway Grants called "BIO-ABS" plastics: new bio-plastics ecologically friendly based on blends of ABS and biopolymers. ABS with natural fibers (ABS-NF) and bio based ABS both of which are in the advanced stages of development.

As MRC informed earlier, in 2013, the Hamburg-based German company Velox GmbH became the preferred distributor for the ABS/SAN-based modifier product range from Spanish company Elix Polymers, S. L., Tarragona, and licensed distributor in Germany, France, Italy, Austria.

ELIX Polymers is one of the most important manufacturers of ABS resins and derivatives in Europe, with 40 years of experience in engineering plastics and an installed capacity of 180,000/year from their plant in Tarragona (Spain) to the world. The operation starts in 1975, when the Tarragona ABS and SAN production plant was inaugurated.