Korean polystyrene, PTA producers worry about disruptions in exports to Turkey

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korean polystyrene and purified terephtalic acid producers are worried about possible disruptions in exports into Turkey, after the failed military coup shook confidence and created uncertainty in one of the largest export destinations for South Korean makers, said Plastemart, citing Platts.

"There might be some negative impact on South Korean PS exports, as major ports in Turkey were heard shut. If this situation continues for a long-term, exports of South Korea-origin PS will likely be disrupted," a South Korean PS trader said Monday. As of Monday afternoon, there had been no reports of any immediate impact on Turkish PS production, and any disruptions in South Korean PS and PTA exports. A South Korean producer said there was "so far no impact" on the PTA market, adding that it would take more time for the exact situation to become clear. However, there are increasing concerns about this issue, as Turkey has been one of the major export destinations for both PS and PTA makers in South Korea, after the South Korea-Turkey Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect on May 1, 2013.

South Korea became the second biggest high-impact polystyrene supplier to Turkey after Belgium in 2013, and has remained so as of 2015, data from Turkish statistical agency, Turkstat showed. With the South Korea-Turkey FTA coming into effect from 2013, import duty on South Korean PS, which used to be at 6.5%, was abolished triggering a sharp rise their inflows into Turkey. South Korea-origin HIPS exports into Turkey more than doubled year on year in 2013 to 3,333 mt, according to data from Turkstat. While in 2015, Turkey imported 4,205 mt of HIPS from South Korea in 2015, the data showed.

According to the latest customs data available from South Korea, the country exported 1,279 mt of HIPS to Turkey in June 2016, up 37% year on year. For general purpose polystyrene, Turkey imported 24,337 mt of South Korea-origin GPPS in 2013, which had more than tripled on year, the data showed. In 2015, the volume jumped to 25,367 mt.

For June 2016, South Korea exported 687 mt of GPPS to Turkey, up 15% on the year, South Korean customs data showed. South Korea produces about 485,000 mt of GPPS and 320,000 mt of HIPS, according to S&P Global Platts data.

The FTA also boosted South Korean PTA exports into Turkey, with Turkey importing 55,093 mt of South Korea-origin PTA in 2013, more than 14 times from a year ago, Turkstat data showed. In 2015, Turkey's PTA imports from South Korea rose further to 262,028 mt, up 23% year on year. In June 2016, Turkey was the single largest export destination for South Korean PTA at 41,695 mt, up 27% year on year, South Korean customs data showed. Out of South Korea's total June PTA exports of 181,056 mt, roughly 23% went to Turkey, the data showed.

With both China and India becoming increasingly more self-sufficient on PTA, South Korean producers have been forced to idle some plants this year and re-focus their exports to the European Union and Turkey because the existing FTA gives South Korean producers advantages over other Asian producers in those markets. "Europe and Turkey are the biggest markets for us now," a South Korea PTA producer said Monday, but added that he had not yet been in contact with his Turkish customers to check if there would be any impact following the recent events.

Total takes control of battery firm Saft

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total says that the EUR950 million (USD1.1 billion) public tender offer it launched for battery major, Saft (Bagnolet, France) in May resulted in Total acquiring 90.14% of the capital and voting rights of Saft Groupe, based on the total number of shares outstanding as of 12 July 2016, said Total.

According to the general regulator of the Autorite des marches financiers (AMF), the public tender offer will be reopened from 19 July through 2 August to allow shareholders who have not yet disposed of their shares to do so under the same terms.

"Total is pleased with the success of this tender offer », said Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman and CEO of Total. « Our acquisition of more than 90% of the shares shows the confidence Saft shareholders have in our industrial project enabling Saft to accelerate its development".

On his part, Ghislain Lescuyer, CEO of Saft Groupe, said "Saft is delighted to join with Total, a major player in the energy sector, which will enable us to accelerate our development."

According to the General Regulation of the AMF, the public tender offer initiated by Total will be re-opened from July 19 to August 2, 2016, in order to allow shareholders who have not yet disposed of their shares to do so under the same terms. Total confirms its intention to prioritize investment over dividend payout and will proceed with a delisting of the stock if a level of 95 percent of the capital and voting rights of Saft Groupe is reached.

As MRC informed earlier, the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) of Iran and France-based Total have signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build a petrochemical complex in Iran.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.


Evonik Industries to commercialize biosurfactants

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik Industries announced that it is commercializing biosurfactants following five years of research involving scientists from Germany, China, and Slovakia, said the company on its site.

The company flagged the plan at a recent innovation event in Germany. Evonik says it is the first company to use biotechnology methods to produce industrial-scale quantities of surfactants - key components of shampoos, shower gels, and household cleansers. The first household biosurfactant cleansers are already available to consumers.

The company also plans to develop and market another class of biosurfactants known as rhamnolipids. These materials have exceptional foam-forming properties, which will open up additional applications as a result. Also under construction at the Slovenska L’upca site is a pilot plant that will produce rhamnolipids through fermentation. Bacteria will be used in this process instead of yeasts.

Evonik biosurfactants meet all of the requirements of modern surfactants. They have good cleaning properties, are gentle on the skin, and completely biodegrade more quickly. At the same time, these materials are even more gentle to aquatic organisms such as algae and daphnia.

As MRC informed earlier, Evonik is conducting research into biodegradable high-strength composites, which could potentially replace metal in implants used for the internal fixation of fractured bones.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. 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 fiscal 2015 more than 33,500 employees generated sales of around EUR13.5 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about EUR2.47 billion.

Monsanto rejects Bayer offer as "financially inadequate"

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed company, said Bayer AG’s latest USD55 billion takeover offer is "financially inadequate" and doesn’t ensure a deal would be completed, said Bloomberg.

Monsanto also said in a statement Tuesday that it’s still open to further “constructive conversations" with the German company and other parties about a deal. Monsanto’s shares fell 1.4 percent to USD104.96 at 8:35 a.m. before the start of regular trading in New York.

Bayer said Thursday it upped its bid to USD125 a share from USD122 previously. The revised proposal came a day after Bloomberg News reported that St. Louis-based Monsanto might entertain a deal with another German chemicals giant, BASF SE.

Buying Monsanto would give Bayer a company that’s both the world’s largest seed supplier and a pioneer of crop biotechnology. The kind of genetically modified seeds that Monsanto started to commercialize two decades ago now account for the majority of corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. Monsanto also sells seeds in foreign markets including Latin America and India.

The offer from Bayer marks a reversal of roles for the U.S. company. Monsanto has long sought to become a one-stop shop for farmers by boosting its crop chemicals portfolio to complement its seeds business. To that end, it had pursued the purchase of Syngenta AG on at least three separate occasions over the years. While that push failed, the American seeds giant is now in talks to buy BASF SE’s agrochemicals unit, even as Bayer sought to acquire Monsanto.

AkzoNobel Q2 profit declines on weak revenues

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dutch paints and coatings maker AkzoNobel NV reported that its second-quarter net income attributable to shareholders declined 6 percent to 312 million euros from last year's 331 million euros, which included positive incidental items,said the producer on its site.

Earnings per share were 1.24 euros, down from 1.34 euros last year. Adjusted earnings per share were 1.32 euros, compared to 1.30 euros in the prior year.

Revenue declined 6 percent to 3.71 billion euros from prior year's 3.95 billion euros, mainly due to adverse currencies. Volumes were up 1 percent, driven by Decorative Paints and Performance Coatings.

Looking ahead, the company said that the market environment remains uncertain with challenging conditions in several countries and segments. Deflationary pressures and currency headwinds are expected to continue.

Results in the quarter were marked by currency volatility, including for the British pound. The company, heir to the bulk of former British industrial giant ICI, said after Britain's vote to leave the European Union that it would continue investing in the country.

As MRC informed earlier, AkzoNobel is adding marine and protective coatings capacity at its existing performance coatings site at Lipetsk, south of Moscow. The new capacity is expected to be operational in the third quarter of this year. It will enable AkzoNobel to supply protective coatings for the regional oil and gas, mining, power and infrastructure markets, as well as marine coatings for ship building, maintenance and repair. The investment represents a further expansion for the multi-business site at Lipetsk.

AkzoNobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.