Petrobras closes sale of Guarani stake

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) further to the material fact disclosed on December 28, 2016, informs that the sale transaction of the full interests held by its wholly-owned subsidiary Petrobras Biocombustivel S.A. in Guarani S.A. was concluded on 3 February, as per the company's statement.

The transaction was concluded upon the payment of USD 202.75 million by Tereos Participations SAS, after fulfilling all preceding conditions set forth in the agreement.

This transaction is part of the partnership and divestment program that reached USD 13.6 billion in 2015-2016 period. The sale is aligned to Petrobras’ Strategic Plan/2017-21 Business and Management Plan, which aims to optimize the business portfolio, withdrawing entirely from biofuel production activities.

The project is one of the five transactions which the contracts may be signed pursuant to the preventive order of the Brazilian Federal Accounting Court (TCU), as disclosed in the material fact announced on December 20, 2016.

As MRC informed before, in early 2016, Petrobras said it is seeking to sell its 5.8 billion Brazilian real (USD1.4 billion) stake in petrochemical producer Braskem SA. Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has hired Brazilian bank Banco Bradesco SA as a financial adviser and has started to pitch the sale to foreign investors. Petrobras owns a 36 percent stake in Braskem, Latin America's largest petrochemical producer. The sale would help Petrobras meet its target of selling USD15.1 billion worth of assets in 2015-16, a key part of its plan to cut debt as oil prices plunge to 12-year lows.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Petrobras is an integrated energy firm. Petrobras' activities include exploration, exploitation and production of oil from reservoir wells, shale and other rocks as well as refining, processing, trade and transport of oil and oil products, natural gas and other fluid hydrocarbons, in addition to other energy-related activities.

LG Chem to shut phenol-acetone plant in Yeosu for a brief turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LG Chem is likely to take a phenol-acetone plant off-stream for a brief maintenance, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that the company has planned to shut the plant in the first week of February 2017. The plant is expected to remain shut for 1 or 2 days.

Located at Yeosu in South Korea, the plant has a phenol capacity of 300,000 mt/year and acetone capacity of 180,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, in January 2016, LG Chem said it had decided to drop a plan to jointly build a USD4.2-billion petrochemical complex in Kazakhstan, citing a prolonged slump in oil prices and a sharp increase in facility investments. In 2011, the chemical company said it would construct the complex near the western Kazakh city of Atyrau as part of a 50-50 joint venture with two Kazakh companies. The plan involved building ethylene and PE plants with annual capacities of 840,000 tonnes and 800,000 tonnes, respectively. The project was announced in 2013.

LG Chem Ltd., often referred to as LG Chemical, is the largest Korean chemical company and is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. According to ICIS report, it is 15th biggest chemical company in the world in 2011. It has eight domestic factories and global network of 29 business locations in 15 countries. LG Chem is a manufacturer, supplier, and exporter of petrochemical goods, IT&E Materials and Energy Solutions.

LG Chem 2016 OP hits 5-year high, pledges USD2.4 bn in 2017 capex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s top chemicals company, said Thursday that its operating profit climbed 9.2 percent on year to 1.99 trillion won (USD1.72 billion) last year, the highest level in five years since 2011, said Pulsenews.

To keep up the upward momentum, the company pledged 2.76 trillion this year to expand facility. Full-year sales rose 2.2 percent to 20.66 trillion won amid increasing battery sales.

The strong business performance was driven by tangible sales in battery business and a robust cost-price spread, the company said. In particular, basic materials business for petrochemical products made large profits, more than offsetting losses in non-petrochemical units.

Fourth-quarter sales grew 9.3 percent to 5.51 trillion won and operating profit jumped 31.2 percent to 461.7 billion won. Net profit soared 30.4 percent to 270 billion won.

The company said its fourth-quarter operating profit sharply increased thanks to business improvement in basic materials despite seasonal weakness and increased orders in battery and IT materials.

LG Chem said it expects to maintain strong earnings pace this year thanks to a robust market demand for basic materials, growing sales in high value products, EV battery and energy storage products, and increased competitiveness in IT materials. In addition, sales in life science will be increasingly visible, and key subsidiary Farm Hannong will see a modest operating margin, the company said.

LG Chem said it will spend 2.76 trillion won on facility investment this year, up nearly 40 percent from a year ago.

"We set aside about 900 billion won for capex investment in battery business, which includes more than 700 billion won to increase production capacity in overseas sites in China, Europe and the U.S. and the remaining will be spent on new model development and IT process improvement," LG Chem president and chief financial officer Chung Ho-young said in a conference call.

"We will also inject some 800 billion won to strengthen basic materials business, and most of this money will go to projects to expand NCC, POE, ABS and other high-value product lineups."

Shares of LG Chem finished Thursday at 270,000 won, up 2.47 percent from the previous session in Seoul trading.

As MRC informed before, LG Chem Ltd, South Korea's largest chemical company, said it would invest about USD260 million to increase production capacity of its Daesan plant by 230,000 tpy to 1.27 MMtpy of ethylene by 2019.

South Korean Lotte Chemical is a global petrochemical company, established in 1976. It produces low density polyethylene (LDPE), high density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene (PP), functional resins, styrene monomer (SM), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), etc.

Petrobras undecided over outright sale of refining assets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA remains undecided about the sale of some refineries, a sign Brazil's state-controlled oil company might be leaning toward forming partnerships by offering stakes in some of them, said Reuters.

The person said Boston Consulting Group Inc had been analyzing potential scenarios for the company's refining operations over the past couple of years, and recently suggested several alternatives for the unit.

One of the options is breaking down Petrobras' refining network into geographic regions and then deciding which should go up for sale, the source said. A more palatable option, the source added, would be offering stakes in specific refineries to peers like Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc .

Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras said extending partnerships in exploration and production to other business segments remained a key strategy whose main aspects are under consideration. Boston Consulting Group did not have an immediate comment.

The source requested anonymity because discussions on the matter are continuing.

The situation reflects changing fortunes at Petrobras since Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente's appointment last May. This week, Parente told investors at a Credit Suisse conference that Petrobras wanted to remain a vertically integrated oil company and had ruled out an outright sale of all refining assets.

In recent months, Petrobras has stepped up the sale of some refining assets, such as the mothballed Okinawa refinery in Japan, and tightened safety and efficiency standards in the segment. Years of domestic fuel price controls and overspending in new projects led to repeated losses in the segment, helping Petrobras amass the biggest debt burden among global oil companies.

Parente has taken to asset sales and partnerships as one way to help cut the company's USD120 billion debt and diminish capital spending commitments for the years ahead. Currently, Petrobras is the sole owner of 14 refineries in operation in Brazil.

The company has set a USD21 billion asset sale target by the end of next year so it can focus investments on giant new offshore oil fields south of Rio de Janeiro, one of the world's largest discoveries in decades.

Global plastic additive market to register CAGR of almost 5% uptil 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The market size of global plastic additive market was valued over USD 38.50 billion in 2015 and it is projected to grow with a CAGR between 4.9% and 5% during the forecast period of 2016-2022 to surpass USD55 billion by 2022, as per Plastemart.

Plastic additives are chemical added polymers which are used to enhance the end user properties of plastic.

The polymers used in the plastic are mixed with monomeric units and are not in their pure form, but are harmless. These monomers i.e monomeric units are known as plastic additives and are classified as reinforcing fibers, coupling agents, stabilizers, colorants, fillers, processing aids, flame retardants, peroxides and antistatic agents. Plastic additives majorly aim to improve the processing characteristics and properties of plastic and to enhance end user performance. Furthermore, plastic additives facilitate safe handling during the manufacturing of finished products.

Rapidly increasing usage of plastics in industrial manufacturing, construction, automotive and mechanical engineering coupled with increasing cost of natural metal are the major factors driving the growth of plastic additives market. Increasing costs of natural metals has increased preferences for plastic additives. Moreover, augmented household applications and lower cost of plastic products are likely to boost the growth of this market over the forecast period.

On the other hand, the global plastic additives market is restrained by stringent government regulation on limited usage of plastic and environmental policies. Due to introduction of bans and regulatory obligations in recent years on usage of wide range of plastic additives is likely to hamper the growth of this market over the forecast period. Going forward, consistently increasing application of plastic additives is likely to increase opportunities to the players in this market over the forecast period.

As MRC wrote previously, in late 2016, The Lanxess Rhein Chemie Additives (ADD) business unveiled the expansion its product range of hydrolysis stabilisers for plastics and polyurethanes with the addition of Stabaxol P 110, the first product in a new line of low-emission polymeric carbodiimides based on alternative raw materials.

The stabiliser is said to show very good performance when used in TPE-Es, PET, and PBT. The product is supplied in pellet form or as an easy-flowing powder. It can be easily processed as it does not have to be pre-heated in the production process, has a high softening point of 80 C and is thus easy to meter uniformly. Typical applications include monofilaments for paper machine screens, cable sheathing, engineering injection mouldings, and electronic housings.