Clariant to acquire Kilfrost Europe aircraft de-icing ops

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Swiss specialty chemicals maker Clariant AG said it has signed an agreement with Kilfrost Group Plc, a UK-based distributor of de-icing and anti-icing products to the civil aviation and transportation industries, to acquire Kilfrost's aircraft de-icing business in Europe, said the company in its press release.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and conditional upon merger clearance.

Kilfrost supplies de-icing and anti-icing solutions.

As MRC informed earlier, Clariant announced its latest double digit million investment at the groundbreaking ceremony held on November 5, 2015 at the Java Integrated Industrial & Port Estate (JIIPE) in Gresik, Surabaya, where construction has officially commenced to develop the first phase of a multi-purpose facility that would allow Clariant to establish its presence even further in Indonesia and Asia.

Clariant is a globally leading specialty chemicals company, based in Muttenz near Basel/Switzerland. On December 31, 2014 the company employed a total workforce of 17 003. In the financial year 2014, Clariant recorded sales of CHF 6.116 billion for its continuing businesses. The company reports in four business areas: Care Chemicals, Catalysis, Natural Resources, and Plastics & Coatings. Clariant's corporate strategy is based on five pillars: increase profitability, reposition portfolio, add value with sustainability, foster innovation and R&D, and intensify growth.

LyondellBasell developing world largest PO/TBA plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell, one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, has announced that it is advancing plans to build the world's largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the Houston area, as per the company's press release.

This project, considered to be the largest of its kind, is expected to create up to 2,500 construction jobs and approximately 100 permanent positions.

"We are moving forward in a deliberate fashion to develop what could become the single largest capital investment in LyondellBasell's history," said Chief Executive Officer Bob Patel. "We continue to believe that the combination of low-cost natural gas liquids available on the U.S. Gulf Coast, along with our leading proprietary PO/TBA technology, will allow this proposed project to capture maximum advantage of market opportunities."

The company will soon begin front-end engineering design work and file environmental permit applications. This phase will also include funding to order long lead-time equipment. A final investment decision is expected to be made following completion of the engineering design work.

The company's complex located in Channelview, Texas was selected as the site for the PO/TBA unit. The Bayport Choate site near Pasadena was selected for an ethers unit which will produce oxy-fuels for high octane gasoline. A split facility design between the Channelview and Bayport sites will optimize the product balances between the sites and create additional synergies.

This project is part of LyondellBasell's previously announced USD3 - USD4 billion expansion effort that will take place on the U.S. Gulf Coast over the next five years. LyondellBasell has already completed work on ethylene expansion projects at the company's La Porte and Channelview sites in Texas. A third ethylene expansion project is currently underway in Corpus Christi.

LyondellBasell first announced the PO/TBA project in August of 2014. Annual production capacities are anticipated to be one billion pounds of propylene oxide and two billion pounds of tertiary butyl alcohol.

The plant will sell PO in the global marketplace to meet growing demand for polyurethanes, which are used primarily for the manufacture of bedding, furniture, carpets and car seats. TBA and its derivatives, which include oxy-fuels, will be sold to meet the need for high octane gasoline blending components as well as for use in manufacturing synthetic rubber and lubricant additives.

As MRC reported earlier, in early October 2015, LyondellBasell announced the acquisition of SJS Plastiblends Pvt. Ltd. (SJS), thereby advancing the Company’s position in India’s expanding automotive market.

LyondellBasell is one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies and a member of the S&P 500. LyondellBasell manufactures products at 56 sites in 19 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.

Inoac to pay USD2.35 million US price fixing fine

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japanese auto interior supplier Inoac Corp. agreed to plead guilty to fixing prices and rigging bids on parts sold to Toyota Motor Corp. between 2004 and 2012, the U.S. Justice Department said in a Nov. 19 statement, as per Plasticsnews.

Nagoya, Japan-based Inoac will pay a USD2.35 million criminal fine as part of the agreement.

Inoac is the latest company to be charged in the Justice Department’s ongoing, industry-wide investigation into price fixing by auto suppliers. Thirty-eight companies and 58 executives have been charged in the investigation, which has led to USD2.6 billion in criminal fines, the department said in a statement.

"Inoac corrupted the competitive process by agreeing with its competitors to fix the prices of certain automotive parts installed in Toyota cars sold in the United States," Brent Snyder, deputy assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said in the statement.

The supplier was charged with a felony for conspiring with its competitors "from as early as June 2004 until at least September 2012" to fix prices and rig bids on plastic interior trim parts including console boxes, glove boxes and assist grips.

"Inoac takes this matter with the utmost seriousness and it has enhanced its existing compliance program to include additional instructions to our employees and additional structures for compliance and monitoring," Inoac USA attorney Anthony Femminineo said in a statement.

Inoac’s U.S. operations are focused on polyurethane foam and interior trim. It had USD176 million in injection molding in North America according to the most recent Plastics News ranking of injection molders.

The charge was filed in U.S. District Court Nov. 19.

As it was written earlier, Toyota Motor regained its crown as the world’s biggest car company by sales, displacing Volkswagen as the embattled German manufacturer grapples with the fallout from its emissions cheating scandal. High quality global journalism requires investment. Toyota sold just over 7.49m vehicles in the nine months to September, 5.85m of which were outside Japan, while Volkswagen sold 7.43m. In the first six months Toyota sold 5.02m vehicles to VW’s 5.04m. Both saw sales fall 1.5 per cent for the nine months on a year-on-year basis.

Constar Plastics closes down in Netherlands

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PET preform and bottle maker Constar Plastics BV in the Netherlands has ceased operations due to ongoing losses. Its machinery is set to be sold off in an auction, said Plasticsnews.

The company, which operated one plant in Zevenaar, closed in early September with the loss of 25 jobs. It had previously been part of U.S.-based Constar International Holdings, a former giant in the North American blow molded container market which entered bankruptcy protection in December 2013.

In early 2014, the U.S. business was sold to Plastipak Packaging, and Constar’s United Kingdom factory was sold to Sherburn Acquisitions, which then sold the plant to Esterform Packaging in January 2015. The Netherlands plant was sold to UTB Industry in May 2014 and was the only one to continue bearing the Constar name.

UTB Industry is a Dutch investment group which acquires loss-making companies with the objective of making them profitable. In its turnaround plan, UTB put money into Constar Plastics but was unable to stop its losses, said Dennis Draijer, management consultant at UTB.

"We made efforts to generate new business over one-and-a-half years but unfortunately without success," Draijer said.

Customers had taken their business to other rigid packaging producers when Constar entered bankruptcy, he said. Some returned to Constar Plastics under UTB’s ownership, but many of the larger, international customers did not bring their business back, he said.

Troostwijk Auctions is holding an online auction on Nov. 23 to sell Constar Plastics’ injection molding machines, blow molding machines, molds and auxiliary equipment. Draijer pointed out that included in the technology are two Husky PET preform systems fitted with Kortec co-injection technology.

As MRC informed earlier, in February 2014, Amcor Ltd. was unsuccessful in its bid to buy the North American assets of Constar International Holdings LLC.

Constar was a pioneer in the PET bottle business, and a few decades ago Constar and Amcor's U.S. predecessor — Johnson Controls Inc. — were the top two blow molders in North America, according to Plastics News' rankings.
Now, however, Amcor is still the No. 1 plastic bottle supplier, with North American sales of USD2.65 billion. According to Amcor, Constar's U.S. business now has six plants and annualized sales of about USD190 million.

Trinseo reports Q3 2015 financial results

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and synthetic rubber, have reported its third quarter 2015 financial results with record net income of USD52 million and EPS of USD1.06 per diluted share, as per the company's report.

Additionally, results for the third quarter included Adjusted EPS of USD1.07 per diluted share, Adjusted EBITDA of USD116 million, and Adjusted EBITDA excluding inventory revaluation of USD144 million.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Chris Pappas, Trinseo President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "After a very strong first half, Trinseo continued with strong results in the third quarter. We had net income of USD52 million and earnings per diluted share of USD1.06. Adjusted EBITDA excluding inventory revaluation of USD144 million in the third quarter was our second highest ever, and we had very strong free cash flow of USD95 million."

Revenue in the third quarter decreased 21% versus prior year due to the pass through of lower raw material costs, with the significant decline in the overall energy complex, and currency, as the euro weakened in comparison to the U.S. dollar. Sequentially, revenue remained flat.

Third quarter Adjusted EBITDA of USD116 million included a USD28 million unfavorable impact from inventory revaluation. Adjusted EBITDA excluding inventory revaluation of USD144 million was USD82 million higher than prior year primarily due to higher margins in the Basic Plastics & Feedstocks division, including styrene monomer, styrenic polymers, and polycarbonate, as well as higher equity earnings from Americas Styrenics. Sequentially, Adjusted EBITDA excluding inventory revaluation was USD22 million higher due mostly to increased polycarbonate margins, the second quarter unfavorable impacts from price lag, and the planned Synthetic Rubber turnaround. These impacts were partially offset by lower styrene monomer margin and a decrease in equity earnings from Americas Styrenics.

As MRC wrote previously, Styron, the global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber, announced it has changed its name to Trinseo, effective February 1, 2015.

Trinseo is a leading global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber, dedicated to collaborating with customers to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions. Trinseo’s technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Trinseo had approximately USD5.3 billion in revenue in 2013, with 19 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,100 employees.