Mitsubishi to license technology for biomass-based PU and polyester polyols

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) has announced that it will move ahead to promote cooperation and licensing of its basic patent (the patent family of WO2011/125720) for the production of biomass-based polyurethane and polyester polyol with external organisations, reported GV.

According to MCC, this patent is broadly applicable for business activities such as manufacturing and sales of these products. The patent has been granted in Japan. Corresponding patents have been granted in the USA, Korea and China, and the company has also filed patent applications in other countries.

MCC said it will move actively to promote the spread of biomass-based products and to expand its own business, through cooperation and licensing with final consumer product makers as well as product manufacturing and sales companies, and contribute to global environmental sustainability. At the same time, MCC said it will take every appropriate action to defend its patent from any infringements.

As MRC wrote before, in July 2016, oversupply of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), mainly from China, prompted Mitsubishi Chemical to off load Indian as well as Chinese PTA businesses. Thus, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings is planning to sell its PTA business, the primary raw material used to manufacture various polyester products and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), in India and China amid profitability concerns with oversupply of the acid, mainly from China, according to a Nikkei Asian Review report.

Mitsubishi Chemical with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, is a diversified chemical company involved in petrochemicals, polymers, agrochemicals, speciality chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The company's main focus is on three business pillars: petrochemicals, performance and functional products, and health care.


PTT LNG increasing ethane capacity to meet rising demand for polymers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PTT LNG, a subsidiary of Thailand's PTT Plc, is planning to optimize its gas separation plants in Thailand to increase ethane production capacity to meet rising demand in the polymer industry, according to the Apic-online.

Specifically, the company plans to spend 21.4-million baht to upgrade its "gas separation unit 1." Capacity of the unit will be increased to 500,000 t/y from 330,000 t/y currently. The extra capacity is expected to feed PTT Global Chemical's operations.

The project will increase PTT LNG's total ethane production for its six gas separation plants to 2-million t/y. A schedule for the project was not given.

As MRC informed before, PTT is on track to start commercial operations at its new 400,000 mt/year metallocene C6 linear low density polyethylene plant at Map Ta Phut, Thailand, in the first quarter of 2018. PTT will start up the plant by the end of this year.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

DSM reports robust Q1

MOSCOW (MRC) -- DSM is reporting a robust first quarter with sales up 13% to EUR2.159 million (USD2.35 million) and a strong input from nutrition, said the company on its site.

According to the Q1 figures for 2017, the Netherlands-based Royal DSM - a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials - has net profit up 75% to EUR149 million (USD162 million) and is forecasting a strong outlook throughout 2017.

Cash from operating activities is up 43% to EUR196m (USD213 million), organic growth is up 9%, while adjusted EBITDA up 17% to EUR345 million (USD376 million).

"We are pleased to report a very good start to the year, with continued positive momentum in all businesses as we execute on our mid-term strategic and financial ambitions," says Feike Sijbesma, CEO/Chairman of the DSM Managing Board.

"Nutrition continued to deliver on its objectives with good growth from Animal and Human Nutrition. Materials demonstrated once again the benefit of its focus on specialties. Both businesses achieved strong volume growth, well above the market."

According to DSM, Q1 2017 sales increased by 12% compared to the same period the previous year, driven predominantly by organic growth of 8%. Volume growth continued to be good across all business lines, with both animal and human nutrition benefiting in part from timing of sales between quarters. Higher prices were driven by animal nutrition. Exchange rates had a 4% positive effect, mainly coming from a stronger US dollar and Brazilian real.

Q1 2017 Adjusted EBITDA was EUR257 million, up 14% compared to Q1 2016, resulting from good organic growth and the profit improvement programs. Currencies had a positive effect with the stronger US dollar and Brazilian real, partly offset by the stronger Swiss franc. Q1 2017 Adjusted EBITDA margin was 18.4%, up from 18.0% in Q1 2016, it adds.

Sales development in nutrition and health were 10% higher compared to Q1 2016 driven predominantly by higher volumes, with good growth across all regions and market segments, well above the market.

The reported volume growth in human nutrition in the quarter benefited from additional vitamin C volumes that could not be delivered in Q4. Normalized for this effect, Q1 2017 volume growth was about 5%. Prices were slightly down with lower contractual prices in Infant Nutrition and a product mix effect. Exchange rates had a positive effect led by the stronger US dollar.

And in food specialties, first quarter sales showed solid organic growth in enzymes, cultures and savory ingredients, while hydrocolloids had a weaker quarter.

"Notwithstanding the current global socio-economic volatility, we are confident that we will be able to deliver against our full-year objectives given our focus on improving our financial performance through our growth initiatives and our extensive and ambitious profit improvement programs. At the same time we continue to manage our business for the longer term by pursuing our innovation-driven growth strategy," adds Sijbesma.


Exxon says to open gas stations in Mexico, invest USD300 MM

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil Corp announced it will bring its Mobil-brand gas stations to Mexico, pumping USD300 MM in the coming decade as it seeks to gain a foothold in the country's retail fuel market, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Exxon expects to open its first service stations in Mexico later this year and will offer motorists its Synergy gasoline and diesel fuels, the US-based oil company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company did not specify how many service stations it would open in Mexico or where it would source the fuel for them. But local newspaper Reforma reported on Wednesday that Exxon company official Martin Proske said in an interview that supply options included importing fuel via train or boat or buying gasoline from state-owned Pemex.

The plan follows BP Plc's announcement earlier this year that the British oil giant would open about 1,500 service stations in Mexico within five years.

BP told Reuters on Wednesday that its foray into Mexico is proving more promising than expected, and that it would likely increase its investment in everything from exploration to retail fuel sales.

Separately, Mexican media reported Royal Dutch Shell said it would also open its first gas station in the country this year, citing the firm's downstream chief for Mexico, Andres Cavallari. Shell did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Latin America's No. 2 economy is home to about 11,400 gas stations and is the world's fourth biggest gasoline market, Mexico's energy minister has said.

For decades, Mexico's fuel market was closed—by law—to any company but Pemex. But in 2013, reforms ended Pemex's monopoly in everything from crude oil production to retail sales.

"Recent energy reforms present a unique opportunity to help meet the growing demand for reliable fuel supplies and quality service in Mexico," Exxon's Proske said in a company statement.

Fears had grown in Mexico that foreign investment might fall after US President Donald Trump was elected last year, as he railed against companies that moved operations to Mexico. US-Mexico relations have also been strained by Trump's threat to ditch the North American Free Trade Agreement and his promise to build a wall between the two countries.

But Exxon's announcement was the latest good news for Mexico's economy after General Electric Co last week praised the country as vital to its growth and Siemens later said that it was going to swap out US imports for local supplies at its Mexican plants.

However, growing fuel theft has worried some in the energy sector. Mexican authorities have been struggling to contain criminal gangs siphoning off fuel that Pemex has said is costing it some 27,000 bpd in gasoline and diesel.

Dow and DuPont receive conditional regulatory approval in Brazil for proposed merger of Equals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company have announced that Brazil's Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) has granted conditional regulatory approval of their proposed merger of equals, as per DuPont's press release.

CADE's approval of the merger is subject to the implementation of remedies that maintain the strategic logic and value creation potential of the transaction for all stakeholders. The remedies include the divestment of a select portion of Dow AgroSciences' corn seed business in Brazil, including some seed processing plants and seed research centers, a copy of Dow AgroSciences' Brazilian corn germplasm bank, the Morgan brand and a license for the use of the Dow Seeds brand for a certain period of time.

This local remedy is incremental to the previously announced divestment of certain parts of DuPont's global crop protection portfolio and R&D pipeline and organization and Dow's global Ethylene Acrylic Acid copolymers and ionomers business, consistent with commitments already made to the European Commission and regulatory agencies in other jurisdictions.

The receipt of conditional approval in Brazil represents a very positive outcome for the merger transaction, which will position the companies to unlock significant value for all stakeholders as they pursue the subsequent intended separation into three industry leaders in Agriculture, Materials Science, and Specialty Products.

Dow and DuPont continue to work constructively with regulators in the remaining relevant jurisdictions to obtain clearance for the merger, which they are confident will be achieved. The companies continue to anticipate closing the merger between August 1, 2017 and September 1, 2017, with the intended spins to occur within 18 months of closing. The companies expect that the first step of the intended separation process will be the spin-off of the Materials Science Company, assuming such sequencing would allow for the completion of all intended spin-offs within 18 months of merger closing and would not adversely impact the value of the intended spin-offs.

As MRC reported earlier, the deal, unveiled in December 2015, will combine two of the oldest companies in the U.S. into a chemical giant called DowDuPont, initially valued at about USD130 billion. The combined company will then split itself into three separately-traded companies focused on agricultural products, material sciences, and specialty products about 18 to 24 months after the merger closes.

DuPont is an American chemical company that was founded in July, 1802. The company manufactures a wide range of chemical products, leading extensive innovative research in this field. The company is the inventor of many unique plastics and other materials, including neoprene, nylon, Teflon, Kevlar, Mylar, Tyvek, etc. DuPont was the developer and main producer of Freon used in the production of refrigeration equipment.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber. In 2016, Dow had annual sales of $48 billion and employed approximately 56,000 people worldwide. The Company's more than 7,000 product families are manufactured at 189 sites in 34 countries across the globe.