Italian plastics and rubber sector healthy and showing positive trend in 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Assocomaplast, the Italian trade association, which unites over 160 manufacturers of machinery, moulds and equipment for plastics and rubber, has completed the balance sheet of the sector for the year 2014, including ISTAT foreign trade data, reported GV.

According to the association, progress in exports maintained a constant rate until the end of 2014, sustaining therefore the Italian machinery manufacturers in a period where the domestic market showed only faint signs of recovery in the very recent months. Although there was a noticeable increase in purchases from abroad (up to 8 % over the entire year) the tendency for investments by manufacturers was described by the Assocomaplast as rather limited in the final quarter of 2014.

The trade association estimated the production of the Italian plastics market to reach a maximum of EUR 4 billion based on surveys of its members. The trade balance further increased and passed the EUR 2 billion threshold, followed by the domestic market just remaining below that level.

The most recent survey by the association described a generally optimistic outlook among nearly one third of the interviewed companies, who expect a further growth in orders and turnover for the present half-year. Another third expects an increase of export shares.

Within the other EU states a clear increase of Italian machinery sales is noted, while the total trade with non-EU countries has dropped. This is likely due to the negative performance in Russia (-11.9 %), which again is partially the result of the sanctions applied in response to the Ukraine crisis and the collapse of the rouble.

The lacklustre sales trend to Brazil (-11 % with respect to 2013) affected the overall performance in South America, while an upswing in supplies to Chinese converters (also to Vietnamese, Indonesian and Indian, just to mention the most significant) compensated a slow-down to South Korea, Japan and Thailand.

Among the destination markets the USA (+21.5 %) took second place from France (-10.4 %, now in third place), while Germany, in keeping with established tradition, remained in first place by a wide margin (albeit somewhat decreased).

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, in 2013, the Ministry of Economic Development of Italy closed the remained plant of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in the country, thus, giving the green light to sales of "Vinyls Italia's facilities, the only Italian PVC producer.

Invista expands production of TERRIN aliphatic polyols into Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Invista, a world leader in fibers, resins and chemical intermediates, is bringing production of its TERRIN polyols to Europe via its facility in Vlissingen, The Netherlands, as per the company's press release.

The site produced its first commercial TERRIN polyols in late 2014 and completed the requirements for REACH registration in Europe.

"We are excited to offer the European market more direct access to our products," said Nadine de Vries, vice president of TERRIN and Terate polyols for INVISTA Specialty Materials. "By expanding production of the TERRIN family of polyols into Europe and utilizing an existing INVISTA manufacturing facility, we are able to better serve the growing European demand for competitively priced products with sustainable content," de Vries said.

TERRIN aliphatic polyester polyols contain a minimum of 50% recycled content - with some containing renewable content, as well. Formulators can use TERRIN polyols in lieu of or in combination with conventional polyether or polyester polyols to formulate a variety of polyurethane products.

"We continue to discover new ways customers can use our TERRIN polyols," said de Vries. "We’re currently collaborating with formulators to create value-added, cost-effective high resilience foams, spray coatings, adhesives, elastomeric resins and viscoelastic foams, just to name a few."

As MRC informed previously, in 2013, Invista Technologies and Arzeda Corp., an emerging Seattle-based biotechnology company, entered into strategic partneship for the development of new technologies to enable novel bio-derived processes.

Invista is one of the world's largest integrated producers of polymers and fibers, primarily for nylon, spandex and polyester applications. With a business presence in over 20 countries, Invista's global businesses deliver exceptional value for their customers through technology innovations, market insights and a powerful portfolio of global trademarks.

BASF unveils its largest construction chemicals production site in India

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has unveiled its largest construction chemicals plant in India at Nellore (Andhra Pradesh, South-East India), as per the company's press release.

This is BASF’s fifth construction chemicals plant in the country. With its state-of-the-art technology and strategically located close to regional growth centers, the plant will enable BASF to respond in a timely fashion to customers’ needs in the Southern part of India and to support them with high-performance solutions in the highly competitive market.

At the new plant, BASF produces standard and custom-made performance-based concrete admixtures such as MasterGlenium, MasterPolyheed, and MasterRheobuild. In addition, solutions such as MasterTile, MasterSeal, MasterTop, and MasterEmaco series are manufactured, with the potential to expand to higher versions of MasterTile and MasterProtect. The site also houses a multiple-tank storage facility and a well-equipped concrete lab that enables Master Builders Solutions experts to deliver tailor-made recipes through formulation excellence.

"With the new plant at Nellore, BASF offers a comprehensive range of solutions to help construct buildings that can be more energy-efficient, durable, and require fewer resources for maintenance," said Mr. Ralf Spettmann, President, Construction Chemicals, BASF.

Raman Ramachandran, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF India Limited and Head, BASF South Asia added, "India is an important strategic market for BASF and we must be able to respond locally in a timely manner. The Nellore site enables us to stay close to our customers and offer them customized solutions to meet the growing demands for multi-story buildings, long-lasting infrastructure constructions and more energy-efficient construction techniques."

Other construction chemicals production sites in India are located in Turbhe, Navi Mumbai, Nalagarh, and Kolkata.

As MRC informed previously, in April 2015, the new Master Builders Solutions Training Center at BASF's site in Oldenburg, Germany, has been officially opened. The new training center in Oldenburg has been created to train and inform customers and BASF's Master Builders Solutions experts on the professional application and handling of Performance Flooring and Waterproofing products and systems - thus fostering their professionalism, knowledge and experience.

BASF is the largest diversified chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries. BASF had sales of over EUR74 billion in 2014 and over 113,000 employees as of the end of the year.

WR Grace advances FCC catalysts project in UAE

MOSCOW (MRC) -- W. R. Grace & Co has commissioned a new catalyst logistics silo terminal and finished Phase 1 of construction for the first fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts manufacturing facility in the Middle East, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to the company's announcement.

To commemorate the milestone, Grace CEO Fred Festa, pictured second from left, was joined by representatives of JV partner Al Dahra Agriculture, as well as Grace employees and contractors.

Phase 2, which represents detailed engineering, is now underway, with operations expected to begin in 2018.

The approximately USD150-million facility, located in the Kizad Industrial Zone approximately 70 km outside Abu Dhabi, will serve refineries throughout the Middle East and potentially other regions.

As MRC informed earlier, in December 2013, W.R. Grace completed the acquisition of the assets of the Polypropylene Licensing and Catalysts business of The Dow Chemical Company for a cash purchase price of USD500 mln. The acquisition includes UNIPOL Polypropylene Process Technology and makes Grace the second largest polypropylene licensor in the world based on installed capacity, advancing Grace's leadership in the broader polyolefin sector.

BASF and Grolman collaborate in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Effective immediately, BASF and Neuss/Germany-based Gustav Grolman GmbH & Co. KG will start an exclusive collaboration in the marketing of amine-based curing agents of the Baxxodur brand in Europe, reported BASF in its press release.

Grolman will initially market the BASF specialty chemicals for the countries of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland and Great Britain, specifically for use in epoxy resin based applications. Examples are thermosetting laminates, highly resistant floor coatings, corrosion protection varnish and composite materials. The products are used in the construction industry as well as in the automotive, marine, aerospace and industrial applications manufacturing.

"The partnership fits very well into our Baxxodur sales & distribution strategy. Grolman has a diversified know-how in application technology and a technically well-versed sales force. As one of Europe's largest distributors of specialty chemicals, Grolman also has the right structure and market acceptance to serve customers efficiently," says Dr. Oliver Cullmann, Vice President Business Management Specialty Amines in BASF's Intermediates division.

"The high-quality curing agent components made by BASF supplement to a great extent our product range of resins, accelerators, flame retardants, fiber and filler wetting agents not only for the thermosetting industry, but also allows us to keep expanding our strong position in the coating industry," says Dirk Grolman, Managing Director and owner of Grolman GmbH & Co. KG.

Under the brand name Baxxodur, BASF markets a diversified spectrum of amine-based curing components for the professional processing of epoxy resins. In addition, the BASF product range also comprises various systems of epoxy resins and curing agents.

As MRC wrote before, BASF is further strengthening its production footprint in Asia Pacific with the start-up of its first production plant for polymer dispersions in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia. This production plant is built at the existing BASF production site, located in the Pasir Gudang Industrial Park of the Johor Free Trade Zone. The plant is BASF’s third polymer dispersions plant in ASEAN, complementing the existing dispersions plants in Jakarta and Merak, Indonesia.

The Grolman Gruppe markets special chemical products of well-known international producers. A wide network of warehouses close to the customers ensures efficient distribution of additives, fillers, dyes and adhesives.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. In 2014, BASF achieved sales of over EUR74 billion and at the end of the year employed about 113,000 people.