Teknor Apex acquires Plastic-Technologie-Service, expands in Europe as compounder of TPEs and ETPs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Teknor Apex Company has acquired Plastic-Technologie-Service (PTS), a German-based custom compounder of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) and engineering thermoplastics (ETPs). The deal, for an undisclosed amount, became final on March 31, said the producer on its site.

PTS operates a state of the art manufacturing plant at Steinsfeld, Germany with more than 20,000 tons of installed capacity, as well as a technical support facility. A marketing office 10 km away in Tauberzell includes facilities for training, seminars and discussion with customers of possible solutions for automotive, electrical, consumer product, and other applications. The company has more than 100 employees.

The product portfolios of PTS are diverse. TPEs include block copolymers based on a number of polymer chemistries, TPVs, and polymer blends. ETPs include several types of polyamide plus PBT, polycarbonate (PC), and PC/ABS blends.

"PTS is well known for innovation and is the European leader in developing 'hard/soft' solutions that combine elastomers with rigid polymers," said Suresh Swaminathan, senior vice president in charge of the global TPE business of Teknor Apex. "They will bring to our partnership a range of unique technologies and service capabilities."

Among proprietary specialties of PTS is a hard/soft technology for over-molding TPEs onto polar ETP substrates, such as nylon and acetal, and producing a durable bond. Another specialty is radiation-crosslinked grades of ETPs and TPEs.

For the past year, PTS has manufactured TPE and ETP compounds for Teknor Apex under a tolling agreement. Now the PTS compounding facility at Steinsfeld becomes the second manufacturing site in Europe for Teknor Apex, which already compounds TPEs at a facility in Genk, Belgium. Teknor Apex also produces compounds at locations in the USA, Singapore, and China.

"The acquisition of PTS is a natural fit in the strategic vision of Teknor Apex to support the market with a global footprint and local presence," said Jonathan Fain, Chairman and CEO of Teknor Apex. "It also brings together two companies that have shared the unique culture of being privately owned and intensively customer-centered."

PTS was founded in 1986 by Uwe Stenglin, who will continue in his role as managing director. As a subsidiary of Teknor Apex, PTS will continue to supply products under its existing brands.

"PTS and Teknor Apex have taken similar pathways to success," said Mr. Stenglin. "We look forward to our growth together and to merging our complementary technologies into a more comprehensive global portfolio of products."

As MRC reported earlier, in July 2015, Teknor Apex Company introduced a new series of styrenic block copolymer elastomers, which exhibits performance comparable to that of thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs) widely used in window gaskets while offering new options for building product manufacturers. Unlike most TPVs used for weatherproof seals in metal, wood, or PVC window frames, Monprene IN-23000 Series styrenic block copolymer compounds are readily available in small lots and pre-colored grades and require no pre-drying.

Teknor Apex is one of the world's leading custom compounders headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA. The company produces PA compounds in the UK, the U.S.A., and Singapore. Teknor Apex is one of the world's leaders of specialty PVC compounds which are used in a wide range of applications from wire and cable to automotive, medical, consumer and industrial products. The company also produces thermoplastic elastomers, nylon, bioplastics, chemicals, specialty compounds.

Zhangjiagang Yangzijiang took off-stream PP plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Zhangjiagang Yangzijiang has shut its polypropylene (PP) plant for a maintenance turnaround, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the plant was taken off-line on April 1, 2016. The is slated to remain shut for around 18-20 days.

Located at Jiangsu province in china, the PP plant has a production capacity of 400,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote before, in early October 2015, Sinopec Zhanjiang Petrochemicals, an affiliate of Chinese petrochemical major Sinopec, took off-stream its PP plant. The plant remained off-line till end-November 2015. Located at Zhanjiang, Guangdong province in China, the PP plant has a production capacity of 140,000 mt/year. Currently, the plant is shut.

Gazprom teams with OMV for expansion of Nord Stream gas pipeline

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian oil major Gazprom signed cooperation deals today with Austrian energy group OMV as it tries to secure more lobbying power for its project to expand the Europe-bound undersea gas pipeline, Nord Stream, as per the company's press release.

Russian gas supplies, which account for one-third of European gas consumption, have been increasingly politicized due to Moscow's involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.

Gazprom wants to bypass Ukraine, a prime route for Russian gas to Europe, by expanding a network of undersea pipelines, primarily Nord Stream, which runs via the Baltic Sea to Germany-plans opposed by Brussels.

Alexei Miller, Gazprom's long-standing CEO, said "there is no doubt" that the construction of Nord Stream-2, which foresees the doubling of the existing pipeline's capacity to 110 Bcm, will be over by the end of 2019.

However, some European leaders are against the project, which is backed by E.ON, Germany's Wintershall , Shell, OMV and Engie.

Europe has been seeking to cut reliance on energy supplies from Russia as political tension has risen between the two over numerous issues, such as Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine's crisis and the eastward expansion of NATO.

The existing Nord Stream pipeline is not utilized at full capacity due to anti-monopoly rules in Europe, known as the Third Energy Package. Gazprom insists that Nord Stream-2 is legal.

Gazprom said the deals signed with OMV in St. Petersburg on April 1 included Russian oil supplies to the Austrian company.

A preliminary asset swap deal was agreed in September 2015. Under the deal, OMV will acquire a 24.98% of areas IV and V of the Achimov formation of the Urengoy oil and gas field in Siberia.

As MRC informed earlier, on 4 April 2016, Borealis AG, one of the largest polyolefins producers in Europe, and Gazprom, signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The document reflects the parties' interest in evaluating opportunities to develop joint gas chemical projects in Russia.

PAO Gazprom (Russia) is a large Russian company founded in 1989 which carries on the business of extraction, production, transport and sale of natural gas. The company name is a contraction of the Russian words Gazovaya Promyshlennost. The headquarters of Gazprom are in Moscow.

LABIX starts linear Alkylbenzene production in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LABIX Company, a joint venture between Japan-based Mitsui and a fully-owned subsidiary of Thai Oil Public Company, has started production at its linear alkylbenzene (LAB) plant located in Si Racha, Chonburi Province, Thailand, said Chemicals-technology.

With the plant, which has 100,000t per year capacity, Thai Oil petrochemical is claimed to have become the first integrated LAB producing company in Southeast Asia.

LAB is used to produce detergents as a petroleum-derived raw material, and the increasing demand for detergents and LAB in Southeast Asia is projected to increase as population levels rise.

Established in 2013, LABIX is benefitted from Thai Oil's continued supply of competitive raw materials and operational skills, as well as Mitsui's network of sales.

Mitsui is already producing and selling palm-oil-derived natural raw materials for detergents and surfactants in Malaysia and China, and, with the start of production at LABIX, Mitsui aims to focus in both the naturally derived and petrochemical raw materials businesses for detergents.

The company also intends to expand its customer relationships and pursue new business development from the new LAB plant.

Earlier this month the company signed an agreement with Behn Meyer (BM), a distributor of chemicals in Southeast Asia, to establish a Singapore-based investment company, BMM Venture. Following the recently signed deal, Mitsui will acquire a 49% equity stake in BMM.

Additionally, BMM entered into an agreement with Myanmar Agribusiness to establish a company, Agri First (AFC), to manufacture and distribute imported fertilisers in Myanmar.

As MRC informed earlier, Thai Oil on 11 July notified the Stock Exchange of Thailand that its wholly-owned Thai Paraxylene Co. (TPX) is setting up a joint venture with Mitsui & Co. to produce and distribute linear alkyl benzene (LAB) in Thailand. Formation of the new venture, named Labix Co. Ltd., is expected to be completed during July 2013. It will be owned 75% by TPX and 25% by Mitsui. Labix plans to build a 100,000-t/y LAB plant that is due to begin commercial output in the second quarter of 2015.

Grupa Azoty to invest in new propylene plant at its site in Poland

MOSCPW (MRC) -- State-controlled Grupa Azoty, one of Poland's largest plastics and fertiliser manufacturers, has announced that it will invest in a new propylene plant at its site in Police in the country's north-west, said Fibre2fashion.

The USD450 million investment will create the largest such plant in Europe by 2019, and is the largest undertaking in the company's history, media reports said.

The investment, the largest in the company's history, will create Europe's biggest production plant for propylene, a critical chemical in the production of plastics and solvents, used in a range of products including car parts, carpets and toys.

Poland's Treasury Minister Wlodzimierz Karpinski told journalists in Warsaw, Friday, that the construction of the plant will create 1,000 jobs and an additional 200 jobs for highly qualified employees for the servicing of this investment.

The initial project for the plant was drafted 6 years ago, with Grupa Azoty deliberating a number of sites for the investment. The new plant is capable of producing 400,000 tonnes of propylene a year and will begin production in 2019. This is expected to increase the Warsaw-listed company's annual revenue by 20 per cent to USD3.2bn. Currently, around 150,000 metric tonnes of propylene are processed in Poland annually.

Grupa Azoty is one of only a handful of Polish business giants that has managed to turn national dominance into international clout, amid long-overdue efforts by the country's government to encourage overseas expansion and investment in new business areas among its largest corporates.

Pawel Jarczewski, the company's chief executive, said the investment was of "istorical magnitude".

Europe is estimated to have a deficit of about 1,000 tonnes of propylene per year. The plant, to be built in Police on Poland's northern Baltic coast, will export 60 per cent of its production, the company said.

The investment is part of Grupa Azoty's planned USD2 billion capital expenditure push between now and 2020 and is expected to be funded by new financing.

As MRC informed earlier, in the late September 2015, Azoty launched construction of a PLN 320 million polyamid-6 plant at its Tarnow operations, southern Poland.

Grupa Azoty Spolka Akcyjna manufactures and sells mineral fertilizers, engineering plastics, and OXO alcohols in Poland, Germany, South America, Asia, Europe, and other European Union countries. It operates in Agro Fertilizers, Plastics, Chemical, Energy, and Other Activities segments. The company provides nitrogen fertilizers, nitrogen fertilizers with sulfur content, compound fertilizers, and phosphorites; engineering plastics, including caprolactam, polyamide, polyacetal, cyclohexanone, and cyclohexanol; and chemicals comprising oxo alcohols, plasticizers, titanium dioxide, tytanpol, melamine, maleic anhydride.