AkzoNobel in talks to acquire BASF industrial coatings business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel, the leading global producer of paints and coatings, said it is in discussions with BASF to acquire BASF’s industrial coatings business, said Chemweek.

"The strategy of AkzoNobel of driving operational excellence and organic growth includes the possibility to pursue value generating, bolt-on acquisitions," the company said. No further information will be made available at this stage. AkzoNobel's industrial coatings business had sales of around EUR780 million (USD884 million), or 14% of the company's performance coatings sales of EUR5.59 billion in 2014.

BASF confirmed that it is in discussions with AkzoNobel on the potential sale, but also declined to give further information. BASF is relatively small in industrial coatings. Its main coatings sectors are automotive and consumer. Industrial coatings are lumped under others, which in 2014 had sales of about EUR240 million, or 8% of coatings sales of EUR2.98 billion. BASF says its main competitors in industrial coatings are AkzoNobel and PPG.

BASF’s industrial coatings are produced at Munster and Oldenburg, Germany. The company offers systems for coating industrial products such as Coiltec, a universal non-chromate coil coating primer and foil coatings, applied to paper and plastic substrates. For the final finish of manufactured products, BASF’s industrial coatings portfolio comprises e-coats, spray and dip coatings, which are used for industrial buildings, radiator components, household appliances and wind turbines.

AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry is a global leader in the manufacturing and supply of specialty surfactants, synthetic and bio-polymer additives and specialty polymers. AkzoNobel currently employs more than 7,400 people in China.

As MRC informed earlier, BASF has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Nexeo Solutions (The Woodland, TX), a privately owned chemical distributor, for the distribution of certain specialty high-performance solvents in the United States and Canada.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It 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.

Lanxess-Saudi Aramco synthetic rubber JV to be launched on 1 April under the name Arlanxeo

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Following the approval of all relevant antitrust authorities, the new synthetic rubber joint venture of Lanxess and Saudi Aramco will start life on April 1 under the name Arlanxeo, said Lanxess on its site.

The future partners said the name and logo combine elements from both, with the descriptor Performance Elastomers highlighting the product range – Lanxess’ rubber business was formerly part of its business unit Performance Polymers.

Managed by a holding in the Netherlands, the jv will be the world’s largest producer of synthetic rubber with annual sales of EUR3 billion and an enterprise value of EUR2.75 billion. Its activities will include development, production, marketing, sale and distribution of synthetic rubber for tire industry, automotive parts and other applications.

As MRC informed earlier, Lanxess clinched the deal with Saudi Aramco Overseas Company, a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian oil giant, in September 2015. Under the agreement, the Saudi partner is paying its German counterpart around EUR1.2 billion in cash for the 50% stake after deduction of debt and other financial liabilities.

Lanxess CEO Matthias Zachert said earlier his company would invest about quarter of the proceeds in its Advanced Intermediates and Performance Chemicals businesses, with the remainder going toward paying down debt and buying back shares.

The final management team is to be announced in the near future. The companies announced earlier that CEO will be appointed by Lanxess, the CFO by Saudi Aramco. Zachert will head the board of directors, on which the partners will be equally represented.

"With this joint venture of the world’s largest producer of synthetic rubber and the world’s largest integrated energy company, we have laid the foundations for the sustainable and positive development of Arlanxeo," said Zachert.

In September 2015, Lanxess was in talks to put its main synthetic rubber business into a joint venture with petrochemicals group Ineos. Lanxess also held talks with Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) and Russia's NKNK and Sibur.

Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 8.0 billion in 2014 and about 16,600 employees in 29 countries. The company is currently represented at 52 production sites worldwide. The core business of Lanxess is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco's value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world's most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.

Bashneft asset sale attracts Lukoil interest

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil major Lukoil has told the Russian government it wants to buy mid-sized rival Bashneft, with the state still studying whether to sell a controlling or minority stake in the firm to plug a budget deficit, sources told Reuters.

The government owns 75 percent of Bashneft, which it nationalized only two years ago. It is considering whether to sell a stake of more than 50 percent, or to limit the sale to 25 percent through a stock market offering, several government and industry sources said.

"There are many parties showing interest, including Lukoil," a government source said.

Lukoil declined to comment. It is Russia's second-largest oil producer and its biggest private oil firm, already producing as much oil as OPEC nations Angola or Nigeria.

Hit by collapsing oil prices, the government of President Vladimir Putin has ordered a privatization drive to cover a budget deficit and is also considering selling stakes in oil major Rosneft.

As MRC wrote earlier, Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced to local media late-December that Russia is planning to privatize state-owned oil companies Rosneft and Bashneft.

A Bashneft sale would represent a significant turnaround after more than 15 years of non-stop consolidation and nationalization of the world's largest energy industry, which allowed the Kremlin to regain control after a chaotic privatization in the 1990s.

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.

Bashneft is the parent company of the Bashkir fuel and energy complex. Bashneft Group includes three oil refineries - Ufaneftekhim, JSC Ufa Refinery, Novoil and petrochemical plant Ufaorgsintez. The installed capacity is 24.1 m tonnes/year of hydrocarbons. Ufaorgsintez is a major producer of phenol, acetone, low density polyethylene (LDPE) and polypropylene (PP). The company specializes in the production of oil in Bashkiria, Western Siberia and the Orenburg region. It supplies oil to the domestic market and for export.

Investments in PP processing in Russia: Results of 2015

MOSCOW (MRC) - Russia's investments in processing capacity of polypropylene (PP) reduced to USD132.4 mln in 2015, down 19% year on year. Investments into injection moulding equipment reduced significantly, while demand for film equipment has grown, according to the MRC Annual Report "PP in Russia - 2016".

The peak of investment in equipment for PP processing over the last nine years occurred for 2013, after which Russian companies' investments significantly reduced. According to the MRC, Russian companies in 2015 imported 94 lines of equipment for PP processing worth of USD132.4 mln, while a year earlier it was 128 production lines at a cost of USD163.8 mln. The main decrease in investments accounted for producers of injection moulding products, while the purchases of film equipment grew.

Russian companies imported 4 lines for film PP production on the cost of USD97 mln, while in 2014 it was imported 5 lines worth of USD57.8 mln. Such a serious increase in investments in the production of film products resulted from the procurement of two lines for the production of BOPP films by Vaterfoll Pro.

Last year, Russian companies imported 31 lines for the production of polypropylene products made by injection moulding method totalling USD17.2 mln. A year earlier the figure was 67 lines totalling USD77 mln. Among the companies, which last year spent on the expansion of their capacities, it should be noted: OZPI Alternative, Source +, Tyumen Accumulator Plant, AtsumitekToyota Tsusho Rus, Autocomponent Plant, Aileron Poliform and others.

In 2015, investments in equipment for the production of PP pipes decreased to USD3.4 mln, with 22 lines imported. In 2014, for the purchase of this type of equipment reached around USD3.6 mln, with 17 lines delivered. Among the companies, which in 2015 continued to expand their capacity for production of PP pipes should be noted: Rosturplast, Holding-Plastpolymer, C-Plast and others.

Russian companies in 2015 bought 8 lines for the production of yarns and fibres worth of USD3.8 mln, while a year earlier the figure was 7 lines totalling USD4.4 mln. The following companies purchased new equipment: Bemholding, Polymer-Kuzbass, Belka and others.


LANXESS names new head of Saltigo subsidiary

MOSCOW (MRC) -- From April 1, 2016, Torsten Derr (46), currently head of the LANXESS Board of Management’s Commercial & Supply Chain Excellence Initiative, will take over as head of Saltigo, a subsidiary of the specialty chemicals company, said LANXESS on its site.

The outgoing head, Wolfgang Schmitz (62), is retiring after 41 years in the company. "On behalf of the Board of Management, I would like to thank Wolfgang Schmitz for his outstanding leadership and loyal cooperation over the many years of his career at Bayer and LANXESS and wish him all the best for this new chapter in his life," said member of the LANXESS Board of Management Hubert Fink. "I would like to thank Torsten Derr for his pathbreaking work in the Commercial & Supply Chain Excellence Initiative and wish him every success in his new area of responsibility."

Torsten Derr was born in Bremen in 1970 and completed a doctorate in chemistry at the University of Bremen in 1997. He started his professional life at Bayer AG. In 2007, he took charge of the Caprolactam business line of the High Performance Materials business unit at LANXESS. On March 1, 2009, Derr was appointed head of the Material Protection Products business unit, before assuming responsibility for the Keltan Elastomers business unit from June 2013. In August 2014, the LANXESS Board of Management put him in charge of the Commercial & Supply Chain Excellence Initiative.

Since April 2006, LANXESS’ fine chemicals business has been run by a separate legal entity, Saltigo GmbH, which is wholly owned by LANXESS. The business unit is a leading supplier in the field of exclusive custom synthesis. The compounds that Saltigo manufactures form the basis for a variety of agricultural and pharmaceutical active ingredients, polymers and specialty chemicals that also play an important role in daily life.

Saltigo is part of the Advanced Intermediates segment, which achieved total sales in fiscal 2014 of EUR 1.6 billion. The company, which is headquartered in Leverkusen and has production facilities in Leverkusen and Dormagen, employs around 1,200 staff internationally.

As MRC informed earlier, following the approval of all relevant antitrust authorities, the new synthetic rubber joint venture of Lanxess and Saudi Aramco will start life on April 1 under the name Arlanxeo.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco's value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world's most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.