Sasol profit falls less than estimated

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South African petrochemicals company Sasol lowered its full-year dividend after weaker oil prices hit earnings, said Mineweb.

Headline earnings per share, a popular measure in South Africa which strips off some one-off items, fell to 49.76 rand from 60.16 a year earlier. It lowered its dividend to 11.50 from 13.50 rand.

The company which relies on oil for 40 percent of its revenue, said its fall was partly offset by a weaker rand exchange rate, higher sales and cost cuts. "Through our tailored business planning, we are making steady progress in mitigating the challenges of a low oil price environment," outgoing chief executive officer David Constable said in a statement.

The price of Brent crude oil fell by more than a third during the reporting period, which ended on June 30, with shares in the company falling by a similar margin. Sales volumes of liquid fuels increased by 5 percent and performance and base chemical sales were up by 2 percent, the company said.

The world's top maker of motor fuel from coal, Sasol is cutting costs through measures including delaying major capital projects and lower dividends. The company said its plans to "conserve cash" had enabled it to pursue growth projects in southern Africa and the United States.

"Our response plan achieved a 8.9 billion rand cash conservation benefit, which is at the upper end of our 6 billion rand to 10 billion rand target range," Sasol said. It cut 2,500 jobs through "voluntary separation" and early retirement.

Sasol said it expected Brent to trade at USD50 to USD60 per barrel during the 2016 financial year, which could hurt business. “We expect oil prices to remain low until the end of the 2017 calendar year," it said.

We also remind that in June 2014, Sasol Chemicals North America and INEOS Olefins & Polymers reached final investment decision to form a 50/50 joint venture to build an HDPE plant in La Porte, Texas. The ethylene required for the production of the HDPE will be supplied by Sasol and INEOS in proportion to their respective ownership positions.

Sasol Limited is an integrated energy and chemical company based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It develops and commercialises technologies, including synthetic fuels technologies, and produces different liquid fuels, chemicals and electricity.

Clariant healthcare packaging facility earns ISO 15378:2011 certification

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, has announced that its Healthcare Packaging manufacturing facility in Belen, New Mexico (USA) recently obtained ISO 15378:2011 certification for products manufactured for healthcare applications, including desiccant canisters and packets and other container-closure systems, as per the company's press release.

ISO 15378:2011 specifies requirements for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and a quality management system (QMS) for manufacturers of primary packaging materials for pharmaceuticals. The standard documents states:

"The realization of GMP principles in production and control of primary packaging materials within organizations is of great importance for the safety of a patient using the medicinal product because of their direct product contact."

Organizations certified under the standard must demonstrate their ability to consistently meet customer requirements, including compliance with the specific regulations that apply to packaging materials used in pharmaceutical applications.

Clariant Healthcare Packaging manufactures a full range of controlled atmosphere packaging solutions, including pharmaceutical desiccants, equilibrium sorbents, adsorbent polymers, oxygen scavengers and pharmaceutical closures and containers. Using both active and passive packaging technologies, the unit offers an array of standard components and complete systems, as well as full innovation and development capabilities. The ISO 15378:2011 certification covers the site's desiccant production value streams, including its high-speed canister assembly department, its desiccant packet form-fill-seal department, and its injection-molding department.

The Belen plant is the second Clariant site to meet the ISO 15378:2011 standards, and the Clariant manufacturing facility in Romorantin, France, was the first to be certified.

As MRC reported previously, in April 2015, Clariant acquired the black pigment preparations portfolio of Lanxess, located at Nagda, Madhya Pradesh. This product line of Lanxess manufactures black pigment preparations used for processing of viscose fibre, which goes in the manufacture of mainly viscose-based apparels, knitwear, towels, bed-linen, etc. With this acquisition, Clariant in India gains additional pigment preparation capacity to cater to a larger, wider customer base.

Clariant in India has local pigment production activities at its Roha (Maharashtra) and Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu) sites. In the year 2014, Clariant invested in the expansion of its Roha pigments facility, thus strengthening its commitment to India.

Consortium of Bechtel, JGC America, Samsung selected for FEED for new petrochemical complex in Ohio

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A consortium of Bechtel, JGC America and Samsung Engineering America has been selected by PTT GC America to perform front-end engineering and design for a new petrochemical complex in Belmont County, Ohio, said the producer in its press release.

The facility will use ethane extracted from the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations to produce ethylene, high-density polyethylene, high-purity ethylene oxide, and mono-ethylene glycol.

"This is an exciting project that will bring jobs and economic development to the region," said Jack Futcher, president of Bechtel's Oil, Gas and Chemicals business unit. "Our team is looking forward to working with PTT GC to deliver the most efficient design for a world-class facility applying our extensive project delivery experience."

Bechtel has been executing major petrochemical projects for more than 60 years, including signature projects like Borouge Petrochemical Complex in Abu Dhabi, CSPC Nanhai in China, and LP-7 in Canada. The company is currently building an ethylene plant in Baytown, Texas.

This contract is in addition to its contract with the Fluor-led consortium. PTTGC, which will take up to the next 12 months to determine evaluate the project’s feasibility, plans to take final investment decision on the project in either 2016 or 2017.

As MRC informed earlier, Bechtel selected in April by the Qatar Petroleum – Qatar Petrochemical Company partnership (QP-QAPCO) to provide project management services for construction of the Al Sejeel mega-petrochemical complex.

Bechtel is among the most respected engineering, project management, and construction companies in the world. We stand apart for our ability to get the job done right—no matter how big, how complex, or how remote. Bechtel operates through five global business units that specialize in civil infrastructure; power generation, communications, and transmission; mining and metals; oil, gas, and chemicals; and government services.
Since its founding in 1898, Bechtel has worked on more than 22,000 projects in 140 countries on all seven continents. Today, our 53,000 employees team with customers, partners, and suppliers on diverse projects in nearly 50 countries.

Evonik developed new silicone resin for high-heat applications

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik, a leading specialty chemicals manufacturer, has developed new silicone resin for high-heat applications SILIKOPHEN AC 950, said the producer on its site.

SILIKOPHEN AC 950 - the new high-temperature resistant, high-solids silicone resin from Evonik - is HAPS-free and intended to provide protective properties in industrial applications. No toxic substances release during curing, making application of SILIKOPHEN AC 950 possible in enclosed spaces. Smoke formation and VOC content are significantly lower than traditional bake-cure silicone resins, allowing SILIKOPHEN AC 950 to meet the increasing requirements for eco-friendly coatings systems.

SILIKOPHEN AC 950 cures at ambient temperature, utilizing a catalyst, which provides additional advantages. Application displays high and early resistance to aromatic and aliphatic solvents, in addition to impact resistance and non-blocking properties without a bake-cure cycle.

"Oven drying at high temperatures has natural Limits," explains Kirstin Schulz, marketing director for industrial coatings. "Our ambient-curing systems enable coating of large objects such as in industrial plants for water treatment or for energy generation."

Compared to classic bake-cure systems, energy consumption is also lower. Curing at room temperature facilitates a user friendly, economical solution to high-temperature resistant coatings.

As MRC reported earlier, in early June 2015, Evonik Industries said it had completed the acquisition of Monarch Catalyst (Dombivli, India). Evonik announced plans to acquire Monarch Catalyst in March, subject to certain closing conditions. The company employs approximately 300 people and will be renamed Evonik Catalysts India. All of Evonik’s future catalyst activities in India will be operated through the newly acquired company. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In 2014 more than 33,000 employees generated sales of around EUR12.9 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about EUR1.9 billion.

WR Grace & Co. to provide UNIPOL PP technology and services to Hyosung for new facility in Ulsan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- WR Grace & Co. will provide its UNIPOL polypropylene (PP) technology and services to Hyosung Corporation of Seoul, Korea for its new facility in Ulsan, which is expected to open in 2017, as per Plastemart.

Hyosung is a Korean industrial conglomerate operating in various industries, including machinery, IT, construction, and textiles. Its Ulsan facility is expected to produce polypropylene at a rate of 200,000 tpa. This is the second UNIPOL PP license for Hyosung.

Al Beninati, President of Grace Catalysts Technologies, said, "We’re pleased that Hyosung has experienced such success with its first license that its leaders have decided to contract with us again for their new plant in Ulsan. Our reliable technology can be implemented with low investment and operating cost, is easy to operate, and produces state-of-the-art PP products. But what truly helped us earn additional business from Hyosung was our commitment to customer service."

Young-Gyo Choi, Hyosung’s Division President, said, "We are delighted to partner again with Grace, the world’s leading independent PP technology licensor and catalyst producer. Their UNIPOL PP process technology offers us the most advanced PP product capability available. We are already producing market-leading PP products in our existing UNIPOL PP technology line, and with this new line, we are planning to produce even more advanced PP products."

As MRC wrote previously, in 2013, Hyosung Corporation, a South Korean maker of textiles and heavy machinery, announced that the company would spend 280 billion won (USD266 million) to build a new propylene plant (414 kilometers southeast of Seoul) by May 2015.

Propylene is a raw material used for making auto parts, textiles and home appliances.

Hyosung Corporation is a Korean industrial conglomerate, founded in 1957. It operates in various fields, including the chemical industry, industrial machinery, IT, trade, and construction.