Ube, MRC & JSR sign shareholders agreement for integration of ABS resin business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ube Industries, Mitsubishi Rayon Co. (MRC) and JSR Corp., following approval from their respective board of directors, have signed a shareholders agreement to integrate their acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resin subsidiaries, as pre Ube's press release.

The combination involves UMG ABS, a 50-50 joint venture of Ube and MRC, and JSR's Techno Polymer Co. subsidiary. Completion of the merger is expected on 1 Oct. 2017; however, the date is subject to change.

"The business conditions surrounding the ABS resin business are becoming increasingly challenging both in and outside of Japan," the companies noted. "The purpose of the integration is to optimize operations, enhance manufacturing efficiencies, and secure cost competitiveness for the ABS resin business, in order to secure the stable supply of products in Japan and expand sales in global markets," they explained.

The integration will take the form of an absorption-type split with UMG ABS as the absorbed company and Techno Polymer as the successor company. After the split, Techno Polymer will remain a subsidiary of JSR, and UMG ABS will be equally owned by Ube and MRC as before.

Techno Polymer will then allocate common shares to UMG ABS so that, on the day that the absorption-type split takes effect, JSR will own 51% and UMG ABS will own 49% of the issued shares in the new company.

The absorption-type split is subject to completion of procedures stipulated in Japan's Act on Prohibition of Private Monopolization and Maintenance of Fair Trade, competition laws of other relevant countries, and other relevant laws and regulations.

As MRC reported earlier, in 2015, Ube Industries announced that it would ramp up production of a chemical used in synthetic leather and other applications in response to demand from China and Southeast Asia, starting up a new plant this month in Thailand. The Japanese chemical company plans to boost its production capacity for polycarbonate diol, for which it controls some 60% of the global market, to 16,000 tons a year in fiscal 2018. When used in car seats, synthetic leather made with polycarbonate diol is scratch-resistant and retains gloss well, according to the company.

ELIX Polymers awarded GOLD EcoVadis rating for its approach to Corporate Social Responsibility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chemical company ELIX Polymers has achieved GOLD level recognition in corporate social responsibility (CSR) awarded by EcoVadis, an agency that specializes in sustainable development and performance monitoring, as per the company's press release.

This is currently the highest possible rating, awarded only after an extensive evaluation by EcoVadis. This is based on 21 criteria, many of which follow international CSR standards such as the UN’s Global Compact, International Labour Organisation, Global Reporting Initiative and ISO 26000.

The overall result achieved by ELIX Polymers places the company in the top 5% of companies in its sector, as evaluated by EcoVadis. This evaluation consists of 4 different qualifications, which rate milestones and company development in relation to the environment, human rights, fair business practices and supply chain, reflecting company performance in CSR.

David Castaneda, Director of Operations at ELIX Polymers said: "This is an important recognition as it rewards our commitment and effort aligned with our long established social responsibility policy." Furthermore, Judith Banus, in charge of the Social Responsibility Program at ELIX, added: "We’ve achieved an extremely high rating in environment and human rights in work practices, which makes us proud and motivated to carry on the strategy of sustainable management."

EcoVadis was founded with the belief that global businesses can make a huge positive impact through their supply chains in improving environmental and social practices globally. EcoVadis has developed a CSR assessment methodology that is trustworthy, global and easy-to-use, and which is used to manage risk and promote eco-innovation covering 150 purchasing categories and 20,000 providers in 99 countries.

As MRC reported previously, last year, ELIX Polymers, a leading manufacturer of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins and derivatives in Europe with a 40-year track record, unveiled an upgraded version of P2MC as well as new ABS grades to complete the plating portfolio. Target applications for these electroplating grades include radiator grilles, logos, profiles, tailgate handles, and decorative interior parts.

ELIX Polymers is one of the most important manufacturers of ABS resins and derivatives in Europe, with 40 years of experience in engineering plastics and an installed capacity of 180,000/year from their plant in Tarragona (Spain) to the world. The operation starts in 1975, when the Tarragona ABS and SAN production plant was inaugurated.

Reliance Industries hits fresh 9-year high

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries (RIL) gained nearly 5% to Rs 1,380, its fresh 9-year high on the BSE in intra-day trade, after Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio), a subsidiary of RIL, on Friday said it had notched an unprecedented 72 million paid subscribers, and extended by a fortnight its deadline for migrating other subscribers to its paid offer, said Business Standard.

"In just one month, over 72 million (and still counting!) Jio customers have signed up for JIO PRIME, making it one of the most successful customer privilege programmes anywhere in the world," RIL said in a press release.

Jio also announced the Jio Summer Surprise for its JIO PRIME members. Every JIO PRIME member, when they make their first paid recharge prior to 15th April using Jio’s Rs 303 plan (or any higher value plan), will get services for the initial 3 months on a complimentary basis.

The paid tariff plan will be applied only in July, after the expiry of the complimentary service. The Jio Summer Surprise is the first of many surprises for JIO PRIME members, it added.

At 10:02 am; the stock was up 4% at Rs 1,370, its highest level since January 21, 2008 on BSE. A combined 5.99 million shares changed hands on the counter on BSE and NSE so far.

Thus far in the calendar year 2017, RIL has outperformed the market by gaining 28% as compared to 12% rise in the S&P BSE Sensex.

As MRC reported earlier, Reliance Industries has recently completed the sale of its Mauritius-incorporated arm Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation (GAPCO) which trades and markets fuel in the African markets to French energy major Total Marketing & Services, marking its exit from the international fuel retail business.

Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. The company is engaged in a wide range of activities, ranging from oil and gas production to production of polyester and polymer goods, including the production of polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and textiles.

Rosneft takes first shipment of Kurdish oil for refining system

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian state oil giant Rosneft will buy its first shipment of oil from Iraq's Kurdistan in early April, becoming the first oil major to take Kurdish crude directly into its refining system, said Reuters.

The shipments aboard tanker Minerva Sophia will sail from the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan to Italy's Triest, from where the oil can be taken by pipeline to Rosneft's refineries in Germany.

In February Rosneft signed a deal with Kurdistan to pre-finance crude exports from the semi-autonomous region.

Kurdistan has said the deal marked the first direct sale to a major refiner and opened the door to others to start buying Kurdish oil directly.

Kurdistan says it needs to export oil independently as Baghdad has not paid Erbil its share of the central government's budget, just when the region needs money to fight Islamic State and host Syrian refugees.

Baghdad has said it will sue buyers of Kurdish oil, maintaining that only the central government is legally entitled to export oil. The new Baghdad government has softened its stance, however, as it cooperated with Erbil against Islamic State in Mosul.

Rosneft faces a growing need in Europe for barrels of light crude for its German refinery after a deal with partner BP expired last year. Under that arrangement, BP suppled all light, low sulfur barrels to the Ruhr Oel refinery in Germany.

Braskem must face US lawsuit over Petrobras scandal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem SA must face the main part of a shareholder lawsuit over its role in a massive bribery scandal that engulfed Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras SA, a US judge has ruled, said Reuters.

In a decision made public on Friday, US District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan said holders of Braskem's American depositary receipts may pursue claims that the company and former Chief Executive Carlos Fadigas defrauded them by concealing how bribery enabled the company to buy naphtha from Petrobras at below-market prices.

Naphtha is a key ingredient in petrochemicals, and the complaint said Braskem bought 70% of its naphtha from Petrobras.

Mark Gimbel, a lawyer for Braskem and Fadigas, said in an email the company is "committed to vigorously defending itself," and pleased that the judge dismissed several other claims.

Braskem's ADR price fell 20.3% on March 11, 2015 after the company was linked to bribery. The scandal arose from a probe called "Operation Car Wash," and led to dozens of prosecutions.

Last December, Braskem and Brazilian construction company Odebrecht SA, which together with Petrobras owns Braskem, agreed to pay at least USD3.5 billion to settle bribery-related charges brought by US, Brazilian and Swiss regulators.

In his 55-page decision, dated March 30, Engelmayer said Braskem was not obligated in regulatory filings to address every factor in its naphtha pricing.

He also said, however, the ADR investors properly alleged that Braskem "cherry-picked for public consumption benign factors" while concealing the "elephant in the room": The substantial role that bribery played.

The company "was not at liberty to selectively omit what the fairly alleges as a central determination of that price: The corrupt arrangement Braskem had struck with the Petrobras officials it bribed," Engelmayer wrote. Engelmayer dismissed claims that Braskem exaggerated its ethics and corporate controls in the filings.

He also dismissed all claims against Odebrecht because it lacked enough ties to the United States to justify being sued there. The judge also threw out claims against Fadigas' predecessor, Bernardo Gradin. Boilermaker-Blacksmith National Pension Trust in Kansas City, Kansas is leading the lawsuit on behalf of ADR purchasers from July 15, 2010 to March 11, 2015.

"The core of the case was the naphtha pricing statements, and I am pleased to see that was upheld," the investors' lawyer Steven Toll said in an interview. "The case will go forward."

Michael Carlinsky, a lawyer for Odebrecht, said he was pleased his client was dismissed from the case.