Huhtamaki acquires a laminate manufacturer in the United States

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Huhtamaki has acquired the assets and business of Pure-Stat Technologies, Inc., a privately owned company in the United States, said the producer in its press rellease.

Pure-Stat's laminate is used as a component in a number of Huhtamaki's molded fiber products. The company employs 12 people in its manufacturing unit in Lewiston, Maine.

The purchase price is approximately EUR 6 million and the acquired unit will become part of Huhtamaki's North America business segment as of July 1, 2015.

As MRC informed before, Huhtamaki built a moulded fibre egg packaging unit adjacent to its existing packaging facility in the greater Moscow area. The new unit concentrated on a narrow range of high-volume premium egg packaging, with complementary products sourced from other Huhtamaki units and technology licensees. The company already has a specialised fresh foods sales force in Russia.

Huhtamaki is a global specialist in packaging for food and drink. With our network of 69 manufacturing units and 23 sales offices in 34 countries, we're well placed to support our customers' growth wherever they operate. Mastering three distinctive packaging technologies, approximately 16,000 employees develop and make packaging that helps great products reach more people, more easily. In 2014 our net sales totaled EUR 2.2 billion. The Group has its head office in Espoo, Finland and the parent company Huhtamaki Oyj is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd.


Acquisition expands Mauser geographic coverage in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- MAUSER Group, a worldwide leading company in industrial packaging based in Bruehl, Germany, acquired the 50% shareholding of Time Technoplast in the IBC business of Fanshun Elan, said the producer in its press release.

Fanshun Group and Time Technoplast (through its subsidiary GNXT Investment Holding Pte. Ltd. in Singapore) operated an IBC joint venture in Guangzhou (South China) named Guangzhou Fanshun Elan Plastech Co. Ltd. ("Fanshun Elan").

Operations and business of Fanshun Elan will be integrated into the existing Fanshun MAUSER IBC joint venture, giving the successful venture between MAUSER Group and Fanshun Group better access to the South China market and a broader customer base to supply its industry leading line of IBCs. The company will operate as Guangzhou Fanshun MAUSER Co. Ltd. ("Fanshun MAUSER").

Fanshun MAUSER is currently producing IBCs in two locations in China, Jinshan (Shanghai) and Jiangyin. The South China operations in Guangzhou will implement the MAUSER SM design and quality standard as applied globally.

The investment made by MAUSER to acquire the Time Technoplast share in Fanshun Elan not only reaffirms MAUSER’s commitment to the Chinese marketplace, but also to growing its operations globally.

"We are very pleased with the addition of the South China business and its production facility," remarked Philippe Larretgere, General Manager of Fanshun MAUSER. "We see tremendous growth opportunity for IBCs in China and the addition of the South China plant to our existing operations in Eastern China will enable us to serve customers more efficiently with our superior product range of IBCs."

As MRC informed earlier, MAUSER Group expanded into the Brazilian market with the acquisition of the plastic drum and intermediate bulk container (IBC) businesses of Greif (Sao Paulo). The acquisition is effective from 1 May.

Mauser Group is a worldwide leading producer of industrial packaging with approximately 4,400 employees and consolidated revenue of over USD1.3 billion. Founded in 1896 and headquartered in Bruehl near Cologne (Germany), the company has influenced the international market through innovative packaging technologies. The portfolio for customers in the chemical, agrochemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical sectors as well as in the food and beverage industries includes plastic packaging, fiber drums, steel drums.


A. Schulman swings to a loss, cuts forecast

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Plastic manufacturer A. Schulman Inc. swung to a loss in the third quarter, as results were again battered by a stronger dollar, said The Wall Street Journal.

It was the second consecutive quarter the Fairlawn, Ohio, company reported a loss against analysts’ projections of a profit. Though based in the U.S., Schulman does most of its business outside the country and has been hit hard by falling demand in Europe and a weaker euro.

Shares, up 4% this year, fell nearly 7% to USD39.28 in after-hours trading as the company cut its projections for the year, citing its recent HGGC Citadel Plastics Holdings Inc. acquisition and the effect of a capital restructuring.

Schulman said it now projects profit of USD2.37 to USD2.42 a share for the year that ends in August, compared with its earlier view of USD2.50 to USD2.55 a share. In 2014, Schulman reported profit of USD2.36 a share.

In the latest period, revenue from Europe, the Middle East and Africa fell to USD326.3 million, a 21% decline, or 1.9% excluding currency fluctuations. The stronger dollar also impacted sales in Latin America, down 9.9% in the latest period.

Meanwhile, Schulman said sales rose 4.1% in the U.S. and Canada and by 4.3% in the Asia Pacific region, bolstered by recent acquisitions.

Overall, Schulman reported a loss before convertible special dividends of USD9.3 million for the period ended May 31, compared with a year-earlier profit of USD19.1 million. On a per-share basis, the loss was 34 cents, down from a year-earlier profit of 65 cents a share.

Excluding restructuring- and acquisition-related costs and other items, profit fell to 72 cents from 74 cents a share a year earlier.

Net sales fell 13% to USD560.9 million, with currency fluctuations impacting sales by about USD91.4 million, Schulman said.

As MRC informed before, A. Schulman Inc. plans to spend 5 million to EUR7 mln (USD5.5 mln to USD7.7 mln) on a new masterbatch facility in Turkey, to tap into market growth in the region. The facility, in the greater Istanbul area, will have annual production capacity of about 40 million pounds of the company’s additive, white and breathable masterbatches for the food and industrial packaging markets, the company said. It’s expected to be in production at the end of the Fairlawn, Ohio-based company’s 2016 fiscal year, which closes Aug. 31, 2016.

A. Schulman is a global plastics supplier, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, and a leading international supplier of high-performance plastic compounds and resins, which are used as raw materials in a variety of markets. A. Schulman has 33 manufacturing facilities globally. A. Schulman's fiscal third-quarter earnings fell 69% amid continued sluggishness in European markets and higher-than-expected costs in Latin America, where the company has been consolidating its Brazilian operations. A. Schulman reported net sales of approximately USD2.5 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2014.

PTT Global Chemical gets green light for LLDPE expansion, hexene-1 unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thailand's PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) has received board of director approval to invest USD288.2-million in a project that will expand linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) capacity and add a new hexene-1 plant, as per Apic-online.

The project, scheduled to begin commercial operations in 2018, will double PTTGC's LLDPE capacity to 800,000 t/y from 400,000 t/y and increase the company's total polyethylene capacity to 1,995,000 t/y. It also involves construction of a 34,000-t/y comonomer hexene-1 unit.

PTTGC, in a message to the Stock Exchange of Thai-land, did not specify where the project would be located, but PCN recently reported that the company was finalizing plans for construction of a new metallocene LLDPE plant at the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong, Thailand.

As MRC reported before, PTT Global Chemical is studying several options for supplying sufficient raw material to its petrochemical plants, including imports of oil feedstocks after declines in global crude prices. The move is part of a plan to cope with a potential drop in domestic natural gas supply after Thailand's government put bidding for new oil and gas concessions on hold.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

Lukoil picks Honeywell control technology to aid Russian refinery efficiency

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Control technology from Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) was chosen by Lukoil to help improve efficiency and reliability at the company's gasoline blending facility in Kstovo, Russia, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Lukoil's Nizhegorodnefteorgsintez refinery uses HPS’ Profit Blend Optimizer software, which is designed specifically for on-line blend reformulation and optimization, allowing for efficient production of fuels to required specifications.

“Profit Blend Optimizer, formerly known as OpenBPC, has a significant impact on quality control, improves process, and impacts on product processing costs at Lukoil's facility,” said Alexander Rodionov, head of sales in Russia for HPS. "It will help optimize the overall performance of a facility that is a key to meeting Russia’s growing need for production fuels."

Lukoil's Nizhegorodnefteorgsintez plant obtained a system for real-time blending recipe optimization, which controls the process automatically using a flow analyzer (IR spectrometer by Bruker) measuring the component and blend properties, APC virtual analyzers and laboratory data enabling production of gasoline of a preset quality at minimum costs.

"We selected Honeywell Profit Blend Optimizer technology since this solution enables obtaining an optimal gasoline blending recipe at the station, Honeywell’s blend property control technology expands the functionality of existing control solutions and allows the refinery to achieve optimal gasoline blending recipes," said Mikhail Shamanin, head of the APC implementation group at Lukoil's Nizhegorodnefteorgsintez plant.

"The advantages of the solution are its flexible implementation, best-in-class functionality and expert consultative support by Honeywell personnel," he added.

As MRC informed previously, OAO Lukoil Holdings, Russia's No. 2 oil producer, will invest USD1 billion in the oil firm Samara-Nafta to increase production. Lukoil acquired Samara-Nafta from Hess Corp. this month for USD2 billion as part of a strategy to stabilize and increase oil production. Lukoil has for years fought declining output at its main, Soviet-era fields in Western Siberia. The investment in Samara-Nafta will increase production by between 5% and 7% over the next five years from 2.5 million tonnes a year, Prime news agency cited the company as saying.

Lukoil, a Russian-based company, is one of the global leaders in the production and refining of crude oil and gas resources. The world's largest privately owned oil and gas company, measured by proven oil reserves, LUKoil has operations in over 40 countries.