Ford Sollers announces start of new Ford Kuga production in Elabuga, Tatarstan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ford Sollers has started full-cycle production of the new Ford Kuga at its modernized assembly plant in Elabuga, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, said Ford.

More than 52,000 Kuga vehicles have been sold in Russia since its launch. In 2016, Ford Kuga sales have increased by 21 per cent in Russia.

"The start of the new Ford Kuga production is a significant milestone for both the manufacturing facility and the Russian automotive industry in general," said Alexander Morozov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

The new Kuga will be available for Russian customers with the new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with a choice of 2 power ratings (150 and 182 hp), as well as a 2.5-litre engine.. The new Kuga will offer customers the choice of front- and all-wheel drive.

"The launch of the new Kuga will allow Ford Sollers to further strengthen Ford’s position in the SUV segment on the Russian market," said Mark Ovenden, president and CEO, Ford Sollers.

As it was written before, on 1 October 2011, the CEO of Ford Alan Mulally and Sollers' general director Vadim Shvetsov announced the creation of an equally owned joint venture called Ford Sollers to produce Ford-branded cars. The new company took control of the Ford's factory in Vsevolozhsk, near Saint Petersburg, (opened in 2002)and two Sollers' factories in Tatastan region, one in Yelabuga and the other in Naberezhny Chelny. The head offices/product development centre were established in Khimki, Moscow.

Ford Sollers is a joint venture between the American car manufacturer Ford and the Russian Sollers established in 2011. The purpose is to produce vehicles for Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus locally.

Sumitomo Chemical signs joint-venture agreement with Zeon

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japan-based Sumitomo Chemical has entered into a joint-venture agreement with Tokyo-based Zeon, for creating a joint-venture company between the two companies and integrating their Solution Styrene Butadiene Rubber (S-SBR) businesses, said Chemicals-technology.

Both the firms will be focusing on developing new products and serve the customers in a better manner as well as in meeting their expectations.

The new joint venture will also try to bring their technologies together, which would further enhance their cost-competitiveness, and also bolstering their business through an ensured stable supply of products, or transferring their S-SBR business operations.

Sumitomo Chemical’s S-SBR will be used as a feedstock for fuel-efficient tires, adhering to environmental awareness as well as tightening environmental regulations.

The company anticipates that the demand for fuel-efficient tires is likely to increase steadily in the future. Most of the companies are looking forward to enhance their production capacities.

The two Japanese companies have also agreed that certain synergistic benefits should accrue from integrating their businesses in a manner outlined below.

As agreed in the joint-venture agreement, Zeon will establish a new wholly owned subsidiary called ZS Elastomer. Upon establishment of the new subsidiary, Sumitomo and Zeon will then succeed the rights and obligations of the sales and R&D functions of each company’s respective S-SBR business to ZSE.

Sumitomo and Zeon will be focusing on developing new products and serve the customers in a better manner, as well as in meeting their expectations.

The new joint venture will also try to bring their technologies together, which would further enhance their cost-competitiveness, and also bolstering their business through an ensured stable supply of products, or transferring their S-SBR business operations.

As MRC informed earlier, Kuraray, Sumitomo, and PTT Global Chemical have signed a Head of Agreement (HOA) to jointly perform a Detailed Feasibility Study (DFS) for potential project development of manufacturing and sales of butadiene derivatives in Thailand. This has been announced by the companies on 13 September 2016.

Sumitomo Chemical is a Japanese based manufacturer of a diverse range of products, including basic chemicals, petrochemicals and plastics, fine chemicals, agricultural chemicals, IT-related chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Linde supervisory board to discuss proposed Praxair-Linde merger

MOSCOW (MRC) -- As the Linde supervisory board gathers to discuss the revived Praxair merger approach at its expected meeting tomorrow, stockbroker Stanford Bernstein has reiterated that it rates the chances of a merger between the two industrial gas giants at only 20%, said Chemweek.

Praxair last week approached the German company with fresh proposals for a merger of equals to create a world market leader valued at over USD60 billion. These proposals address several concerns that led Linde to call off earlier merger discussions in September, principally the location of the merged group headquarters, management issues and potential job losses in Germany, according to insider reports.

Bernstein analysts, who were among the first to report several weeks ago that the merger discussions could be revived, believe that the two companies could successfully navigate the various antitrust obstacles around the world, but only after the divestiture of businesses with around USD4.8 billion of sales, or 16% of the merged entity's expected USD30 billion revenues in 2016. To reduce overlaps, Linde would be obliged to divest about USD2 billion of sales in North America, while Praxair would have to shed over USD1.5 billion of sales in Western Europe. Without these divestitures, the combined entity would have market shares of 32-34% in both these key regions, the analysts estimate.

Linde would also have to shed USD960 million of sales in South America, where Praxair has a commanding 42% market share, while Praxair would have to sell USD244 million of onsite sales in China, they add. The analysts believe that the concentrated nature of the industrial gas industry means that many of these divestitures would attract only a very limited number of buyers, again for antitrust reasons, so they are only likely to be made at distressed prices.

Finally, Redenius argues that in a true merger-of-equals, which he says would involve an exchange of 1.55 Praxair shares for one Linde share, Praxair would be paying out nearly all of the anticipated benefits to Linde shareholders, with a 20% upside to Linde's undisturbed share price, but a 3% downside to Praxair's. If a deal were to proceed in the face of all the above risks, Praxair should seek more favorable terms, perhaps involving an exchange of 1.4 or lower Praxair shares for one Linde share, the analyst says.

The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 62,000 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide.

KBR awarded license contract for largest ROSE unit design

MOSCOW (MRC) -- KBR, Inc. announced it has been awarded a license and basic engineering design (LBED) contract by Hyundai Oilbank (HDO) for an 80,000 bpd ROSE unit in Daesan, South Korea, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The unit will be built using KBR's proprietary ROSE technology, which provides solvent deasphalting (SDA), and will be the largest SDA unit in the industry.

Under the terms of the contract, KBR will provide the license for use of ROSE technology, as well as basic engineering design and post-start up services. The unit is expected to come on-line around the end of 2018.

The ROSE unit will remove heavier fractions from crude oil, allowing the refinery to monetize a larger proportion of its oil intake into lighter, high-grade products, which will enhance HDO's refinery margin.

"ROSE is one of the most cost effective ways to recover more valuable product from every barrel of oil," said John Derbyshire, President of KBR Technology & Consulting. "We are proud to partner with Hyundai Oilbank to help them upgrade their residue and become more competitive in the global refining landscape."

As MRC informed earlier, KBR, Inc. announced that its Saudi Arabian JV engineering operation, KBR-AMCDE, has signed an amendment to extend its existing General Engineering Services Plus Contract with Saudi Aramco.

PetroRabigh restarts its ethane cracker in Saudi Arabia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia's PetroRabigh has brought on-stream its cracker following a maintenance turnaround, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Saudi Arabia informed that the company has recently resumed operations at the cracker. The cracker was shut for a planned maintenance on November 10, 2016.

Located in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 1.6 million mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, Petro Rabigh completed all construction works for capacity expansion at its ethane cracker in late March 2016, after which the cracker's capacity rose to 1.6 million mt/year from 1.3 million mt/year.The company plans to gradually start up its new petrochemical units from QH2 2017.

PetroRabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, has an annual output capacity of 18 million tonnes of refined products and 2.4 million tonnes of petrochemicals. Thus, the complex currently has a cracker to produce 1.6-million t/y of ethylene, as well as downstream production of polyethylene, polypropylene, propylene oxide, ethylene glycol and butene-1.