Celanese to expand its global compounding capacity to support growth in Engineered Materials Business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has announced plans to expand the capacity of its global compounding assets and certain product-specific manufacturing production sites to support the significant growth in its engineered materials business, as per the company's press release.

"As the global demand for specialty materials increases in key industries such as medical, automotive, consumer goods and electronics, Celanese is partnering with our customers to deliver the innovative materials found in products that consumers around the world use every day," said Scott Richardson, senior vice president, Celanese engineered materials business. "These planned capacity expansions at selected Celanese facilities - along with our recent acquisitions - will enable us to continue to support a growing and diverse customer base and respond to the increasing need for compounded specialty materials, long-fiber thermoplastics and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene."

Expansions are planned within the global Celanese manufacturing network as follows:

1. Compounding Capacity Expansions:

- In the Asia region, Celanese will add two production lines at its Nanjing, China, facility and one production line at its recently acquired Suzhou, China, facility.
- In the Americas region, Celanese will add two production lines at its Florence, Kentucky, facility, as well as expand compounding production capacity at its Bishop, Texas, facility.
- In the European region, Celanese will add one new production line at its recently acquired Forli, Italy, facility.

Celanese expects these new production lines and expansions will add approximately 50-60kt per year in compounding capacity. The company also expects through the debottlenecking of existing global production lines to see an additional 10-15kt per year capacity of compounded material production capability.

2.Celstran LFT Capacity Expansions:

- In the Americas region, Celanese is in the process of adding one new Celstran® long-fiber thermoplastics (LFT) production line at its Winona, Minnesota, facility as well as debottlenecking existing production lines at this facility.

The company expects through this expansion and the debottlenecking of existing global LFT production lines to see an additional 9kt per year of capacity.

3. GUR UHMW-PE Capacity Expansions:

- In the Asia region, Celanese is in the planning stages of one new GUR® ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) production line at its Nanjing, China, facility.

The company expects this new production line to add approximately 15kt per year of new GUR® UHMW-PE product capacity.

These announced projects are expected to be completed in the 2018-2019 timeframe and financial details are not being disclosed at this time.

As MRC wrote before, Celanese Corporation will increase list and off-list selling prices for ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA) in the Americas. The price increase below will be effective as of 1 November 2017, or as contracts otherwise allow, and is incremental to the previously announced increases. Thus, the company's EVA prices will go up by USD0,05/lb for the mentioned above regions.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,300 employees worldwide and had 2016 net sales of USD5.4 billion.

Polish refiner Lotos M&A plans could hit dividend

MOSCOW (MRC) — Poland's second biggest oil refiner Lotos wants to buy local petrol stations and foreign oil deposits to strengthen its position in the market, its CEO said, adding the plans could hit its dividend payout, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Earlier on Thursday, Lotos reported a bigger than expected rise in third quarter net profit, sending its shares to their highest level in 6 mos. Profits were buoyed by the reversal of a writedown, as well as higher sales, margins and throughput after 2016 refinery shutdowns.

But the company's own oil production fell by 6% year on year, mostly due to its aging deposits in Norway. "I hope that this is the last conference at which I am saying that the output is falling. Without an acquisition, the trend will not reverse," Chief Executive Marcin Jastrzebski told the results conference.

He reiterated Lotos was looking for deposits in production phase in Norway and Britain's part of the North Sea. Lotos, whose net debt stood at 3.3 B zlotys (USD916 MM) at the end of September, is also looking to buy petrol stations in Poland to increase its total to around 1,000 from 485 currently.

"Getting to about 1,000 stations would enable us to have a bigger say in retail business," Jastrzebski told reporters. "I hope that investors would forgive us if we were to make significant acquisitions in upstream and retail, which would make paying out dividends difficult."

This year, Lotos paid its first dividend in 10 yr. The CEO also said Lotos wanted to retain its ability to make dividend payments.

LyondellBasell approaches Brazilian Braskem for takeover

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell Industries NV has approached Brazil's Braskem SA for a potential takeover, valuing the petrochemicals company at more than USD10 B, reported Reuters with reference to the Wall Street Journal.

The talks are at an early stage and there is no guarantee of a deal, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A deal would help LyondellBasell expand in Latin America, where Braskem is the biggest petrochemicals company.

The news comes amid a wave of big mergers in the chemicals sector. Dow Chemical and DuPont completed their USD130 B merger last month to form DowDuPont, while ChemChina bought Swiss seeds group Syngenta for USD43 B earlier this year.

LyondellBasell and Braskem did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

As MRC informed earlier, Petrobras’s (Rio de Janeiro) minority stakes in Braskem and Deten Quimica were excluded from Petrobras’s divestment program, according to a government decree published in Brazil’s Official Gazette last week. The decree prevents Petrobras from immediately selling its minority stake in Braskem, which had been announced this year. A new decree will be required to release the stock sale. Petrobras’s board earlier approved a strategic plan for 2017-21 that included the divestment of all petrochemical interests.

LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. The company manufactures products at 57 sites in 18 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.

Braskem S.A. produces petrochemicals and generates electricity. The Company produces ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, xylenes, butadiene, butene, isoprene, dicyclopentediene, MTBE, caprolactam, ammonium sulfate, cyclohexene, polyethylene theraphtalat, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Yantai Wanhua Chemical to bring on-stream PDH plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Yantai Wanhua Chemical is likely to restart its propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant following a planned maintenance, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company is expected to resume operations at the PDH plant on November 10, 2017. The plant was taken off-line for a maintenance turnaround on October 20, 2017.

Located at Yantai in Shandong, China, the PDH plant has a propylene production capacity of 750,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, in August 2017, The Linde Group, a world leading industrial gases and engineering company, announced that it had signed an agreement with Wanhua Chemical Group, the world's largest producer of isocyanate (MDI), to expand the supply of gas to Phase II of Wanhua Chemical's Yantai operations. Under the new agreement, Linde will invest EUR108 mln (835 mln RMB) to build two additional energy efficient steam-driven ASUs, complementing the two existing ASUs already in place, to meet Wanhua Chemical's growing demand for industrial gases.

Evonik presents new moulding compound for applications in professional sports

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik has developed a new high-performance plastic for demanding applications in professional sports, as per the company's press release.

VESTAMID CW1401 is an impact modified polyamide 12 (PA 12) which combines good elasticity and stability at temperatures as low as -40 C.

The new PA 12 molding compound has excellent low-temperature impact strength which, at 101 kJ/m, is twice as strong as other materials. This means that it can be used in applications where extreme pressure is applied and where stable properties are required from the materials at low temperatures.

This combination makes VESTAMID CW1401 the material of choice for the new ski and snowboard boots of the Austrian professional brand UPZ. "In downhill ski races and especially in snowboard races, the pressure applied to the boot is several times greater than is the case with the average amateur skier or boarder," says Wolfgang Aigner, managing director of AITEC GmbH. "The material used in the boot must be capable of permanently withstanding extreme loads."

VESTAMID CW1401 fulfills all these criteria. The boot parts that are subject to the greatest pressure are manufactured from Evonik’s high-performance plastic using an injection-molding process. They ensure optimal power transfer during the race while allowing the greatest possible flexibility and maximum comfort.

"New innovative products, which have been custom developed in close collaboration with our customers, form an important pillar of our organic growth," says Dr. Iordanis Savvopoulos, head of the Granules & Compounds Product Line at Evonik.

As MRC wrote previously, Evonik Resource Efficiency will invest in a capacity expansion of its performance foams business at its production site in Darmstadt, Germany. The investment will increase the output of the facility by about 20% as a first step. The Group will be adding production equipment to its operations complex that manufactures products marketed under the Rohacell brand. The expanded production capacity is expected to be operational in the second half of 2017.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world.