Covestro lifts force majeure for polymeric MDI

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Covestro has announced that it has lifted force majeure for polymeric MDI in the Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) region with immediate effect, as per GV.

The company declared force majeure on 25 April 2017 due to an unforeseeable production problem at its site in Brunsbuttel, Germany.

According to Covestro, despite all its efforts to sustainably improve its product availability for polymeric MDI, the supply situation will continue to be tight for some time, due in particular to a currently strong demand.

Furthermore, Covestro said it needs to prepare a turnaround at the Brunsbuttel facility, which is legally required. At the same time the company advances its MDI capacity extension at this site.

As MRC informed previously, in late March 2017, Covestro announced that it would continue manufacturing MDI in Tarragona, Spain. The plant closure that had originally been planned for the end of 2017 had been suspended for the time being. The main reason for this decision was the significant increase in demand for MDI, said Covestro. Furthermore, the company has managed to get access to important raw materials - in particular chlorine - for the Tarragona site for the next years beyond the end of 2017.

Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) is an independent subgroup within Bayer. It was created as part of the restructuring of Bayer AG from the former business group Bayer Polymers, with certain of its activities being spun off to Lanxess AG. Covestro manufactures and develops materials such as coatings, adhesives and sealants, polycarbonates (CDs, DVDs), polyurethanes (automotive seating, insulation for refrigerating appliances) etc.

PVC imports to Kazakhstan rose by 19% in the first four months of 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into Kazakhstan increased in January-April 2017 by 19% year on year to 13,600 tonnes, reported MRC analysts.

Last month's imports of unmixed PVC to Kazakhstan dropped to 3,900 tonnes from 5,000 tonnes in March. Thus, overall imports of resin reached 13,600 tonnes in the first four months of 2017, compared to 11,500 tonnes in the same period of 2016.

Due to the geographical factor, Chinese producers, with the share of about 99% in the local market over the stated period, were the main PVC suppliers to Kazakhstan.MRC

PP production in Russia decreased by 3% in January - April 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) - Production of polypropylene (PP) in Russia decreased to 464,900 tonne in first four months of this year, down 3% year on year, compared to the same period of 2016. The largest increase in PP production accounted for three producers, according to MRC ScanPlast.

April PP production in the country decreased to 110,600 tonnes, compared with 119,600 tonnes in March. The decreased production was caused by a long shutdown at Neftekhimiya and Stavrolen. Total PP production in Russia reached 464,900 tonnes in Jan-April 2017 against 479,600 tonnes, an increase showed Tomskneftekhim, Ufaorgsintez and Poliom.

Structure of PP production over the reported period looked as follows.

The largest producer of PP in Russia - SIBUR Tobolsk in April produced about 44,300 tonnes against 48,200 tonnes a month earlier. SIBUR Tobolsk's PP production reached 173,800 tonnes in January-April 2017, which is practically the same as in Jan-April 2016.

April production at Poliom were about 17,600 tonnes, while a month earlier this figure was 17,000 tonnes. Total PP production at the plant over the reported period was about 70,000 tonnes, up 7% year on year.

Ufaorgsintez's PP production in April reached about 10,600 tonnes against 9,100 tonnes in March. Producer reduced capacity utilisation because of technical problems at the propylene preparation site. The producer's PP output at Ufaorgsintez increased to 41,200 tonnes in January-April 2017 compared with 40,900 tonnes year on year.

April PP production at Nizhnekamskneftekhim decreased to 18,100 tonnes from 18,900 tonnes a month earlier. The producer's PP production in January-April remained the same from last year's level - 72,700 tonnes.

Tomskneftekhim also kept March production volumes in April, and the final production of propylene polymers was 11,700 tonnes. Total PP production at Tomskneftekhim over the reported period reached 46,500 tonnes, compared with 42,300 tonnes year on year.

Stavrolen (LUKOIL) last month shut its capacity utilisation for 10 days scheduled maintenance works, total polypropylene production had dropped to 7,700 tonnes against 11,100 tonnes in March. Overall PP production at the plant exceeded 38,300 tonnes in January-April, down 1% year on year.

Neftekhimia (Kapotnya) shut its capacities for a long scheduled maintenance works, as a result PP production in April at the plant was less than 1,000 tonnes. The producer's PP output in Jan-April reached 22,500 tonnes, down 48% year on year.


AkzoNobel wins court case vs shareholders over PPG bid - reports

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A Dutch court on Monday rejected a request by Akzo Nobel investors for it to take immediate action against the company over its rejection of a takeover bid by U.S. rival PPG Industries, handing the Dutch company a victory in its efforts to repel the U.S. firm's 25 billion euro (USD28 billion) proposed offer, reported Reuters.

The decision ratchets up the pressure on PPG to decide whether to file formal bidding papers for Akzo with Dutch regulators by a June 1 deadline - or walk away for at least six months.

PPG said in a statement after the ruling it was still weighing whether to bid or not.

Presiding Judge Gijs Makkink said Akzo's board had been within its rights to reject entering into talks with PPG. However, he noted the management faced dissent from a large group of shareholders which wanted it to engage in talks with PPG. A group representing around 18 percent of its equity had spoken out in support of the suit, launched by hedge fund Elliott Advisors.

"This is a problem that cannot be ignored by Akzo Nobel," Makkink said, though he left it up to the company to decide what steps it should take to mend the rift.

Elliott Advisors had asked the court to order an extraordinary shareholders meeting to consider a motion to dismiss Chairman Antony Burgmans over the company's decision to reject a proposed takeover offer from PPG worth 25.3 billion euros (USD8.3 billion).

The judge rejected that, saying it amounted to an attempt to force the board of directors to change their strategic direction, which was not a right that shareholders have under Dutch law.

Elliott said in a statement it was "surprised and disappointed" by the ruling.

"Elliott is considering the implications of this judgment for shareholder rights in the Netherlands and for its next steps in relation to Akzo Nobel."

As MRC wrote previously, in mid-May 2017, AkzoNobel rejected a third unsolicited takeover bid from American rival PPG Industries, saying it was not in the interests of shareholders. AkzoNobel said that its own plan, announced in april, to spin off its Specialty Chemicals unit within 12 months to boost growth "offers a superior route to growth and long-term value creation and is in the best interests of shareholders and all other stakeholders." AkzoNobel announced the shakeup after rejecting two earlier PPG bids, saying they undervalued the company.

Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.

PTTGC to take off-stream HDPE plant in Thailand for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) is in plans to shut its high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant in mid-July 2017, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in the Thailand informed that the company is likely shut the plant on July 17, 2017 for a maintenance turnaround. The plant is expected to remain off-line for a period of around 15 days.

Located at Map Ta Phut in Thailand, the HDPE plant has a production capacity of 300,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, in late May 2016, PTTGC took off-stream this plant for a two-week scheduled turnaround. Initially, the company planned to shut the HDPE plant in early June, but then decided to start maintenance a week earlier.

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.