Tasnee swings to Q3 net profit on volumes, feedstock costs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia's National Industrialization Co (Tasnee) made a profit for the second consecutive quarter as a reduction in feedstock costs and higher sales offset the sustained impact of depressed product prices, said Reuters.

Petrochemical firms in the kingdom have been struggling for the last two years as lower oil prices have weighed on product prices in their industry. Tasnee posted losses in every quarter in 2015 as well as the first three months of this year.

A concerted restructuring effort by the company, which focused on improving efficiencies and cost cutting which resulted in it shedding more than 25 percent of its global workforce, had already helped Tasnee return to profit in the second quarter.

The improvement extended into the third quarter as Tasnee recorded a profit of 122.2 million riyals (USD32.6 million), according to a bourse filing.

Shares in Tasnee, which has interests in petrochemicals, metals and chemicals and is one of the world's largest producers of titanium dioxide through its Cristal subsidiary, ended Tuesday down 10 percent despite the profit.

Chief Executive Mutlaq al-Morished denied a Bloomberg report that the company had stopped making payments on a USD1 billion loan.

In an interview with Al Arabiya television he said Tasnee had begun informal talks with local banks to refinance the loan at better terms, as it had done with a 7 billion riyal facility for Cristal earlier this year, with negotiations set to last at least six months.

The profit compared to a loss of 296.3 million riyals in the prior-year period, while the average forecast of three analysts polled by Reuters was 114.9 million riyals. The company is moving forward with projects in Jizan and Hail, despite delays, Morished told Reuters on the sidelines of a company event.

He attributed the hold-up of an ilmenite smelting plant in Jizan industrial city to technology issues, requiring a re-engineering of the design. "When you start a new technology, you run into teething problems. We're going through teething problems," said Morished. The first furnace is expected to start production in the first half of 2017, while the second would begin in the third quarter.

In Hail, he said delays were due to complications associated with the projects' remote location. There are plans for some of the six or seven Tasnee plants in Hail to start commercial production in the first quarter of 2017, he said. The rest will start throughout 2017.

As MRC informed earlier, in 2014, Tasnee entered into an agreement to increase its stake in titanium dioxide (TiO2) producer Cristal.

Headquartered in Riyadh, Tasnee is primarily engaged in petrochemical, chemical and industrial projects. The
company produces petrochemical products, including polypropylene, polyethylene and acrylic acid, as well as other downstream petrochemical products.

Evonik and kalwar present innovative solutions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The combined expertise resulting from the cooperation between Evonik and kalwar opens up entirely new opportunities for film pretreatment and coatings technology. The innovative calvasol functionalization technology provides the consumer with a clear view of the food item thanks to antifog packaging film, as per Evonik's press release.

Dynasylan SILFIN 50 was developed especially for the use in the drinking water sector and has been successfully implemented in the market. The very long lifetime of inhouse systems for the drinking and hot water supply becomes possible by linking the pipes using the Monosil process - and reliably at high continuous service temperatures of up to 90 degrees Celsius. Silane-crosslinked pipes are resistant to corrosion and expansion, are crackproof, have a reduced weight, and save laying costs. Other crucial advantages are improved wear resistance and greater resistance to fast crack propagation. Crosslinking with organofunctional silanes has also proven to be environmentally friendly and economical. Even small quantities of silane result in excellent characteristics.

Bright, fresh fruits are more appetizing than those behind fogged films. Kalwar’s innovative calvasol functionalization systems are the systematic further development of their calvatron surface technology. Apart from ensuring long-term adhesion as required, they also provide a solution for the antifog issue. What you see determines what you buy, and bright, fresh fruits - as the exhibit shows - are simply a better argument. The highly effective and economical coating process is environmental-friendly, significantly reduces production costs, and enables a great variety of interesting functionalities. The calvasol technology does not only replace established production methods but, by using smart combinations, allows for producing entirely new products. In cooperation with customers, calvasol is also used to develop release and antiblock effects in films.

As MRC informed before, Essen-based Evonik Industries, a leading specialty chemicals manufacturer, invested over EUR400 mln in its plants in Germany in 2015. Evonik is planning further large-scale projects in Germany. One of these is the construction of a new plant for production of specialty copolyesters in Witten by 2018 with an investment in the double-digit million euro range. As part of the global production initiative for specialty silicones, Evonik intends to invest in production for these products in Essen once again. A new silane research center is currently being built in Rheinfelden that is slated to be completed in 2016.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. In 2015 more than 33,500 employees generated sales of around EUR13.5 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about EUR2.47 billion.

SIBUR licenses Conser technology for maleic anhydride production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SIBUR has signed an agreement with Conser, an Italian engineering company, to acquire a license for maleic anhydride (MAN) production technology for its Tobolsk facility, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Maleic anhydride is used in the construction, agriculture, automotive, paint and varnish, furniture, pharmaceutical and other industries. It serves as feedstock for films, synthetic fibers, pharmaceuticals, detergents, fuel components and oils. The use of MAN allows achieve high strength of the material as well as its resistance to moisture, extreme temperature and mechanical stress.

Russia currently does not produce maleic anhydride, with the domestic consumption of 4.5 ktpy fully covered by imports. The estimated output of the new Tobolsk facility will be 45 ktpy. Production of a high-margin product using own feedstock (butane) will enable SIBUR to improve the hydrocarbon processing rate in Russia, fully substitute MAN imports, and export it to Europe and the Middle East. In addition, a state-of-the-art Russian MAN production facility will provide new development opportunities for many domestic industries.

SIBUR has also engaged NIPIgaspererabotka, a leading Russian center for facility design, supply, logistics and construction.

As MRC reported earlier, Russian petrochemical company Sibur is in talks with shareholder Sinopec about investing in a planned gas chemical plant in Russia's Far East. Sibur plans to buy gas from fields which Russia's Gazprom will develop in Eastern Siberia. Sinopec Engineering Group, may also take part in constructing the plant.
In December, Sinopec paid USD1.338 billion for a 10% stake in Sibur and said it planned to acquire an additional 10% within three years.

SIBUR is a uniquely positioned vertically integrated gas processing and petrochemicals company. We own and operate Russia’s largest gas processing business in terms of associated petroleum gas processing volumes and are a leader in the Russian petrochemicals industry. As of 31 March 2014, SIBUR operated 27 production sites located all over Russia, had over 1,400 large customers engaged in the energy, chemical, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), automotive, construction and other industries in approximately 70 countries worldwide and employed over 27,000 personnel.

Kuwait KNPC aims to finalize USD5 B loan by Q1

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kuwait National Petroleum Co. (KNPC) expects to finalize a loan of well over USD5 billion to finance its Clean Fuels project by the end of Q1 of next year, said Reuters.

The state-owned refiner had originally said it planned to complete the fundraising, one of the world's largest-ever loans backed by export credit agencies, this year.

KNPC’s chief executive Mohammad Ghazi al-Mutairi, contacted by Reuters, said talks were progressing on the loan, which could close in Q4 of this year or Q1 of 2017.

He also said NBK Capital was acting as exclusive financial adviser for the facility, which would have backing from the South Korean, Dutch, British and Italian export credit agencies.

HSBC is coordinating the transaction, banking sources said. "It’s one of the major loan deals to expect in the region - it’s going to be huge," said one source.

The Clean Fuels Project will upgrade and expand two of Kuwait's largest existing refineries with a focus on producing higher-value products such as diesel and kerosene for export. KNPC obtained a first tranche of financing in April, a USD4-B loan led by National Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait Finance House, which saw the participation of 11 banks, including Islamic lenders.

“There's an aggressive timeline on this - whether it will be Q4 or Q1 2017 is uncertain still," said one banker.

As MRC informed earlier, Kuwait Petroleum Corp. (KPC) plans to sell loss-making assets to cut costs as low oil prices pressure its finances. As part of the exercise, KPC plans to set up a company to manage the integration of its new refinery at Al-Zour and a petrochemical complex and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.

Air Products and NICE sign MOU to develop hydrogen fuel projects in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Air Products and the National Institute of Clean-and-Low-Carbon Energy (NICE) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlays a collaborative effort to work together on hydrogen fueling projects in China, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The MOU was signed by representatives of both companies during a ceremony at the opening of NICE America Research Inc. in California.

NICE, a research and development institute affiliated with the Shenhua Group of Beijing, Peoples Republic of China, has been devoted to the research and development of hydrogen technologies and is interested in developing the hydrogen refueling business in China with major global partners. Air Products has extensive hydrogen fueling experience in the United States and globally, is the largest hydrogen supplier in the world, and also has a leading global position in the hydrogen fueling and infrastructure market.

The companies agree in the MOU to jointly explore hydrogen fueling projects, and to identify low cost hydrogen production and distribution solutions for each project.

Additionally, beyond hydrogen fueling projects during the term of the MOU, a longer-term relationship to explore other opportunities will be considered.

Air Products, a global supplier of hydrogen to refineries to assist in producing cleaner burning transportation fuels, has vast experience in the hydrogen fueling industry. In fact, several sites today for certain hydrogen fueling applications are fueling at rates of over 75,000 refills per year. Use of the company’s fueling technology is increasing and is over 1,000,000 hydrogen fills per year. The company has been involved in over 200 hydrogen fueling projects in the United States and 20 countries worldwide including China. Cars, trucks, vans, buses, scooters, forklifts, locomotives, planes, cell towers, material handling equipment, and even submarines have been fueled with trend-setting Air Products’ technologies.

As MRC informed earlier, Air Products and Chemicals Inc. APD has opened a new advanced non-electronics specialty gas and helium transfill center in Ochang, North Chungcheong, South Korea.

Air Products has more than 50 years of hydrogen experience and an extensive patent portfolio with over 50 patents in hydrogen dispensing technology. Air Products provides liquid and gaseous hydrogen and a variety of enabling devices and protocols for fuel dispensing at varied pressures. Hydrogen for these stations can be delivered to a site via truck or pipeline, produced by natural gas reformation, biomass conversion, or by electrolysis, including electrolysis that is solar and wind driven.