DuPont eyes outsider as CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- DuPont is looking at external candidates for its next CEO, said Bloomberg.

If it chooses an outsider, it’ll be the first time in 213 years the chemical maker will be led by someone who isn’t a DuPont employee or have a long history at the company. The break with tradition comes after chairman and CEO Ellen Kullman unexpectedly announced her retirement this month, just as DuPont cut its earnings forecast and an activist investor signaled its battle to break up the company isn’t over.

The DuPont board is looking for an outsider who can implement changes, similar to what Ford Motor did by bringing in Boeing executive Alan Mulally, said a person familiar with the Wilmington, Delaware-based company’s strategy. The directors are working with executive-recruitment company Heidrick & Struggles International to find a successor, said two other people familiar with the matter. All three people asked not to be identified because the recruitment process is confidential.

On outside appointment may be welcomed by Trian Fund Management, the investment firm led by Nelson Peltz, which lost a proxy fight in May in a bid to break up the company and is DuPont’s fifth-largest shareholder. On Oct. 5, hours before Kullman said she was stepping down, Trian co-founder Ed Garden said the firm had increased its stake and that "the DuPont story is not over." Trian declined to comment on DuPont’s recruitment of a new CEO.

DuPont’s victory over Trian in May was narrow, and investors have grown anxious for change as the stock price has tumbled, Ahmed said. The shares have declined 19% since Trian’s slate was defeated compared with a 3.8% decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. An outsider who gets along with Peltz could head off another showdown, said John Roberts, a UBS Securities analyst.

Investors and analysts say these five DuPont outsiders could be in the frame as the next CEO: Ed Breen, 59, was appointed as a DuPont director in February and is serving as interim chairman and CEO while leading the search for Kullman’s replacement. He’s best known for running Tyco International after his predecessor, L. Dennis Kozlowski, stole millions of dollars from the company. Breen broke up Tyco while focusing on fire-detection and security systems, tripling investors’ money during his decade at the helm. “For him, nothing is sacred,” said Kevin Walkush, a portfolio manager at Jensen Investment Management in Portland, Oregon. “Reputationally, he’s also a pretty good operator.” Breen was one of two directors praised earlier in 2015 by Trian for their “fresh, independent, highly relevant perspectives."

DuPont’s board "is conducting a thorough search for the best possible candidate to serve as the next leader of DuPont," said Dan Turner, a company spokesman. Breen, Gallogly, Harlan, Reilley and Heidrick & Struggles didn’t respond to requests for comment. Bunch declined to comment on DuPont’s search for a new CEO.

As MRC informed earlier, DuPont announced that it will establish a new innovation and business headquarters in Singapore. The 11,000-square-meter facility will open in 2016 and house nearly 200 scientists, engineers and business leaders. Drawing on DuPont's leading position in Agriculture & Nutrition, Advanced Materials and Bio-based Industrials, the new DuPont Singapore ASEAN headquarters will focus on delivering new innovations tailored to meet the unique needs of the ASEAN marketplace.

DuPont is an American chemical company that was founded in July, 1802. The company manufactures a wide range of chemical products, leading extensive innovative research in this field. The company is the inventor of many unique plastics and other materials, including neoprene, nylon, Teflon, Kevlar, Mylar, Tyvek, etc. DuPont was the developer and main producer of Freon used in the production of refrigeration equipment.

Iran to raise South Pars gas, condensate output for petrochemicals expansion

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iran plans to start producing gas and condensate at Phases 17 and 18 of the South Pars offshore deposit by late March, boosting output of the fuel that it wants to use as feedstock to triple its petrochemicals output, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The two new South Pars phases will produce a combined 50 million cubic meters/day of gas and 80,000 bpd of condensate, Hassan Jahangiri, implementation and project manager at Pars Oil & Gas Co., said Thursday in the southern port of Assaluyeh. They are scheduled for completion by the new Iranian calendar year starting March 21, he said.

"The project is about 95% complete, and it will be ready to be inaugurated before the end of this Iranian year," Jahangiri said of the two phases. "We are waiting for gas from the offshore fields."

Iran, with the world’s biggest natural gas reserves, according to BP data, is raising production from South Pars to provide fuel for power plants as well as raw material for chemical factories. It plans to develop the Persian Gulf deposit in 24 phases, of which 11 are currently producing. The country wants the nearby city of Assaluyeh to become a hub for producing petrochemicals, which are used to manufacture plastics.

The Middle Eastern country plans to add some 40 million tons of annual petrochemicals production capacity at Assaluyeh in the next five years, Mohammad Hasan Peyvandi, vice president of Iran’s National Petrochemical Co., said Wednesday in an interview in Tehran. The country seeks in the next decade to triple production of petrochemicals from the 60 MMtpy it makes currently, he said.

The Islamic republic is preparing to rebuild its economy after more than a decade of economic sanctions have choked off foreign investment and access to energy markets. Iran agreed in July to accept limits on its nuclear program in return for a removal of sanctions, which have targeted exports of petrochemicals as well as oil.

Iran plans to build eight condensate refineries for about USD3 billion at the Siraf complex in Assaluyeh, each with a planned output of 60,000 bpd, said Alireza Sadegh Abadi, project director for Siraf. Local companies building the plants will be able to seek foreign investment after sanctions are lifted, he said.

Lack of investment due to sanctions has prevented Iran from completing its first facility to liquefy gas for export by ship. Iran will prioritize exporting gas by pipeline for the next three years until it can finish building the LNG terminal, said Azizollah Ramazani, director of international affairs for National Iranian Gas Co.

Iran plans to boost gas output to 1.4 billion cubic meters/day by 2021, according to Roknoddin Javadi, managing director of state-run National Iranian Oil Co. The country doesn’t export any gas now due to high domestic demand and will need to make at least USD50 billion of capital expenditure to start shipping the fuel, Ildar Davletshin, an analyst at Moscow-based investment bank Renaissance Capital, said in a report issued Thursday.

As MRC informed earlier, Director general of the Association of Petrochemical Industry Corporations (AIPC) has referred to the talks with some European petrochemicals distributors estimating increased export in petrochemicals after the removal of sanctions.


Honeywell to acquire research chemicals business from Sigma-Aldrich

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Honeywell announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Seelze, Germany-based laboratory research chemicals business from Sigma-Aldrich for approximately 105 million euro, said the producer in its press release.

The acquired Sigma-Aldrich business develops and manufactures high-purity research chemicals and other materials used in new drug discovery, medical diagnostic testing and other laboratory applications. The agreement is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review.

"This acquisition allows Honeywell to offer laboratory customers a more complete product line, and builds on our already strong portfolio of Burdick & Jackson® high-purity solvents and reagents adding some of the industry's most well-known and respected brands," said Darius Adamczyk, president and CEO of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. "The acquisition will enable Honeywell to offer a broader line of inorganic chemicals and solvents for demanding applications ranging from pharmaceutical drug discovery to medical diagnostic testing."

Honeywell will acquire three global brands: Fluka chemicals and reagents used for biochemical research and other chemical and pharmaceutical applications; Hydranal Karl Fischer titration reagents used by laboratories to measure moisture content in liquids and solids; Chromasolv high-purity solvents for chromatography, a technique used to separate and analyze complex mixtures.

All three product brands are globally recognized for their quality and lot-to-lot consistency, which is critical for a range of applications including drug synthesis, food, environmental, chemical and forensic testing.

As MRC informed earlier, Honeywell has opened a new manufacturing facility in China to produce catalysts used to make components for plastics production. This new site in Zhangjiagang City, Jiangsu Province, has begun production of catalysts used to covert propane to propylene as traditional sources for this product shrink. The catalysts are used in the Oleflex process developed by Honeywell’s UOP, a global leader in technology for the oil and gas industries.

KKPC to shut PS/EPS plant in South Korea for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co (KKPC) has shut down a polystyrene (PS)/expandable polystyrene (EPS) plant for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that the plant was taken off-stream during last week. It is likely to remain off-stream for 2weeks.

Located at Ulsan in South Korea, the PS plant has a production capacity of 230,000 mt/year and EPS plant has a production capacity of 85,000 mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, French Total, Europe’s third-largest oil company, is in plans to start a new polystyrene (PS) plant in China in the second half of 2015. To be located at Ningbo, China, the plant is expected to have a production capacity of 200,000 mt/year.

Ningxia Yinglite restarted PVC plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ningxia Yinglite has brought on-stream a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant following a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company has resumed operations at its plant early this week. It remained shut for around one week.

Located at Ningxia in China, the plant has a production capacity of 100,000 mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in the first half of September 2015, Shandong Dongyue shut down its PVC plant for a maintenance turnaround. It remained off-stream for around 4 weeks. Located in Shandong province, China, the plant has a production capacity of 120,000 mt/year.

Earlier, in mid-July 2015, Junzheng Chemical restarted its PVC plant following maintenance turnaround. The plant was shut in mid-June2015. Located at Wuhai in Inner Mongolia, the plant has a production capacity of 320,000 mt/year.