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 HP Inc. cooperate in 3D printing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik Industries and HP Inc. are intensifying their cooperation in the development of new plastic powders for 3D printing, as per the company's press release.

As the first materials manufacturer, the specialty chemicals company will place a certified product VESTOSINT 3D Z2773 on Hewlett Packard's "Open Platform Program".

"Through the close partnership with HP and our active participation in the open platform program we anticipate further impetus in the development of new plastic powders for 3D printing use", said Dr. Matthias Kottenhahn, Head of the Business Line High Performance Polymers of Evonik.

The new PA-12 powder from the segment of Resource Efficiency Evonik convinces with superior mechanical properties and is FDA compliant, as the components printed on the basis of VESTOSINT can be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for food contact. So, the use of additive manufacturing technologies in food production equipment components which require flexibility due to limited quantities or unique, complex designs is conceivable.

Evonik has developed and produced special plastic materials, which allow for the industrial production of high-tech components in using 3D printing technologies for years. Polyamide 12-based powders VESTOSINT convince with their high quality and processing capabilities, and the property profile of each powder is perfectly matched to the respective 3D printing technology.

As MRC informed previously, in mid-July 2016, Evonik Industries announced its decision to participate in HP Inc.’s Open Platform program and introduce new customized powder materials to the market for HP Multi Jet Fusion technology. As a result of active participation in HP’s Open Materials program, Evonik expects to see further development in additive manufacturing technologies in the direction of large-scale production of components, such as those used in the automotive and aircraft industries. Therefore, the Group intends to launch special powder materials for this innovative 3D printing technology in HP’s Open Platform program.

Besides, in February 12, 2016, Evonik Industries unveiled its plans to build a new production line for special polyamide 12 powder (PA12) in Marl (Germany) with an investment volume in the mid double-digit million euro range. The new plant, which is scheduled to become operational in late 2017, will increase the group’s existing annual capacity for polyamide 12 powders by 50%.

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. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world.

Kazanorgsintez resumes HDPE production following turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) - Kazanorgsintez (KOS group TAIF), one of the largest chemical enterprises in Russia, is in the process of resumption of production of hight density polyethylene (HDPE) after scheduled maintenance works, said the customers of the plant.

Sources reported that KOS at the end of last week began the process of gradual resumption of HDPE production after a scheduled maintenance works. They said that two of the three reactors have been already restarted.
The plant's annual production capacity is 540,000 tonnes.

Scheduled maintenance works of HDPE production at Kazanorgsintez is the last in the current year at Russian producers.

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat shut down its HDPE production for the turnaround in late July.

Stavrolen and Nizhnekamskneftekhim do not plan to shut down their production capacities for maintenance this year.

As MRC reported earlier, Kazanorgsintez decreased HDPE production in September to 43,000 tonnes compared to 49,700 tonnes in August. The producer produced about 371,900 tonnes of HDPE in the first nine months of the year, up 3% year on year.

PJSC "Kazanorgsintez" - one of the largest enterprises of the Russian Federation (Group of companies "TAIF").
Kazanorgsintez produces more than 38% of all Russian polyethylene and is its largest exporter. The Company offers phenol, acetone, synthetic resins, plastics materials, organic plant products, and non-vulcanizable elastomers. KOS is the only Russian manufacturer of polycarbonates. The company is Russia's largest producer of high density polyethylene (HDPE). The producer's annual production capacity of HDPE is 540,000 tonnes and 217,000 tonnes of low density polyethylene (LDPE).

Partner of Rosneft in Essar deal says may sell stake within 5 years

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian private investment group United Capital Partners (UCP), which is teaming up with oil giant Rosneft to buy India's Essar Oil in a USD12.9-B deal, said it may sell its stake within five years, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The purchase of Essar Oil, by Russia's state-owned Rosneft and a consortium of UCP and global oil trader Trafigura, will be the biggest foreign acquisition ever in India and Russia's largest overseas deal. The takeover is expected to be completed in the next few months.

The chief executive of Russian lender VTB, which advised on the deal, has said it was specially structured to ensure it was not affected by Western sanctions imposed on Rosneft and its boss Igor Sechin, an ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Since Rosneft will control only 49% of Essar under the deal, with Trafigura and UCP jointly holding another 49%, the sanctions risk is mitigated.

But the structure has raised questions about whether UCP and Trafigura will cede their shares to Rosneft once sanctions are lifted or eased, giving Sechin full control over the acquisition.

The sanctions were imposed over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

"We do not plan to sell our stake to anyone in the near future," Irina Lanina, a director of UCP, said in a written response to Reuters' questions.

"We plan to make this investment in a consortium with our partner Trafigura and are likely to exit together with them as well. As of now, we are looking at (remaining in Essar) for 3-5 years but time will tell," Lanina said.

Lanina said that UCP plans to use its own funds and credit facilities to finance the acquisition of its stake but did not say how much it would cost.

As MRC informed previously, last week, it became known that Russian oil major Rosneft, along with European trader Trafigura and Russian fund UCP, would acquire 98% in India's Essar Oil for about USD12 B - USD13 B including debt. Rosneft will get 49% and the two investors - Trafigura and UCP - will hold the remaining 49% in equal parts, the sources said, adding that the valuation included about USD4.5 B in assumed debt. Essar Oil operates a 400 Mbpd oil refinery on India's west coast and sells fuels through its 2,470 filling stations in India.

Rosneft became Russia's largest publicly traded oil company in March 2013 after the USD55 billion takeover of TNK-BP, which was Russia’s third-largest oil producer at the time. Apart from other assets, Rosneft owns Angarsk Polymer Plant and Ufaorgsintez in Russia and Lisichansky refinery in Ukraine.

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.