Italian Mossi Ghisolfi draws interest for troubled US assets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Italian plastics multinational Mossi Ghisolfi has attracted interest from a series of buyers, including plastics maker Indorama, for its US assets placed under Chapter 11 restructuring, reported Reuters with reference to sources close to the situation.

The assets, which include one of the world's largest plastic bottle production plant projects, could fetch up to USD1 B, though a sale could take some time, one of the sources said.

Rothschild is running the proceedings, the sources said.

Mossi Ghisolfi, founded by the Ghisolfi family in 1953, is famous for introducing PET, a plastic used for soft drink bottles, in Italy and across Europe.

In 2013, it considered listing its M&G Chemicals business in Hong Kong but then pulled plans as market conditions worsened.

The unexpected death of former managing director Guido Ghisolfi in 2015 and big cost overruns at its Corpus Christi PET plant in the United States have hit business.

Last year, M&G Finanziaria, the holding company owned by the Ghisolfi family, had a 90% fall in operating profits to 6.9 MM euros (USD8 MM) on revenues of 1.7 B euros. Debt stood at around EUR2.5 B.

"Indorama, Reliance Industries and Alpek are interested," one of the sources said. The source said no Chinese names had expressed interest since they preferred to build their own plants at home.

Another source said the replacement value of the company's US assets, or what it would cost to build them from scratch, was in the range of USD2 B–USD3 B.

"It's going to be a drawn-out process with some debt being cut off," the source said.

Mossi Ghisolfi (M&G) declined to comment. Indorama, Reliance Industries and Alpek were not immediately available for comment.

M&G - which in Italy owns Beta Renewables, the first plant in the world to produce second-generation ethanol -recently said it had filed for creditor protection for units in Italy.

"The companies are studying a proposal for an arrangement that will allow their overall activities to continue as a going concern, although they cannot exclude alternative solutions at the end of the ongoing technical assessments," the company said on its website.

Italian investment bank Mediobanca is leading the process in Italy, a different source said, adding a series of private equity and industrial players had expressed early interest.

The source declined to say how much the Italian operations could be worth but said it could be "several hundred millions."

The Mossi Ghisolfi Group is controlled by M&G Finanziaria, which is owned by the Ghisolfi family. The group's activities are sub-divided into the following businesses: PET, its raw materials; biofuels, chemical products derived from non-food biomass; polyester fibre and biodegradable polymers.

ELIX Polymers publishes 2016 Sustainability Report

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ELIX Polymers, a leading manufacturer of ABS resins and derivatives in Europe, has published its first Sustainability Report, as per the company's press release.

It provides stakeholders with an in-depth understanding of the company’s commitment to transparency and information related to the sustainability impacts of their activity during the 2016 tax year.

The report covers issues related to sustainable management in environmental, social and economic areas, as well as ELIX Polymers’ relationships with stakeholders. It shows how ELIX Polymers management strives to create added value according to the interests of customers, shareholders, the community, the company’s own employees, and others. Management guidelines relating to sustainability are based on the circular economy, waste-minimisation strategies, and the responsible consumption of energy and natural resources.

Introducing the 2016 sustainability report, Wolfgang Doering, CEO of ELIX Polymers, said: "As a company in the chemicals industry, we have a particular responsibility towards our stakeholders and society as a whole. With this report, we want all parties to gain a better understanding of how ELIX Polymers is living up to its responsibility towards the environment."

"Since ELIX Polymers became an independent company in 2012, it has driven various initiatives to strengthen its commitment to environmental sustainability, basing its management on the values of integrity, transparency and ethics. One example among many is our investments in research to develop products that are more sustainable, whether during the manufacturing process or in their use phase."

ELIX Polymers has recently renewed its Responsible Care certificate. This is the chemicals industry’s first worldwide voluntary initiative for promoting corporate social responsibility and commitment to the principles of sustainable development. It also holds ISO 14001, ISO 50001 and ISO 9001 certificates for environmental management, energy management and quality management respectively. ELIX was one of the first chemicals companies in Spain to obtain the ISO 50001 certificate for energy efficiency.

Judith Banus, head of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, says: "Sustainability is an essential part of our company, and the circular economy is an important opportunity to explore the integration of environmental management, such as recycling plastic or managing waste created during the production process. But we also see safety as a fundamental part of sustainability. Our people are the cornerstone of our company’s mission, which is why we support the implementation of healthy company strategies. We are going beyond basic health protection: we now promote health fully, in a way that is not limited to the working day."

"We are introducing a new safety culture into our operations. Last year, we initiated our Company-based Safety project, which has the ambitious aim of creating a risk-free workplace, encouraging the participation of all employees, led by their line managers, to create an environment where they can perform optimally and safely."

As MRC reported earlier, in February 2016, ELIX Polymers 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.

Celanese to raise November EVA prices in Americas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, will increase list and off-list selling prices for ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA) in the Americas, said the producer on its site.

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.

As MRC wrote before, Celanese Corporation raised its October list and off-list selling prices for EVA emulsions and copolymers of Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) and EVA. The price increases below were effective October 1, 2017.

The following price rise applied for the countries of South America:

- EVA - by USD110/mt;
- VAM Homopolymers (PVAC) - by USD110/mt;
- VAM Copolymers - by USD110/mt;
- Pure Acrylics - by USD110/mt;
- Styrene Acrylics - by USD110/mt.

And the following price increase applied for the USA and Canada:

- EVA - by USD0.05/lb;
- VAM Homopolymers (PVAC) - by USD0.05/lb;
- VAM Copolymers - by USD0.05/lb;
- Styrene Acrylics - by USD0.05/lb;
- Pure Acrylics - by USD0.05/lb.

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.

AkzoNobel in talks to buy US rival Axalta

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dutch paints and coatings maker AkzoNobel, under pressure after rejecting a lucrative takeover offer and then issuing two profit warnings, said it was in talks to buy US rival Axalta Coating Systems Ltd that could create a USD30 billion company, reported Reuters.

Akzo, the maker of Dulux paint, announced it was in "constructive talks" following market speculation about a possible deal.

Reuters reported on Friday the companies were in talks, sending Axalta’s shares 17% higher.

Akzo has a market capitalization of EUR19.5 billion (USD22.7 billion), while Axalta is worth USD8.1 billion at Friday’s closing price of USD33.15.

Akzo said merging with Axalta, whose truck coatings business fills a hole in its portfolio, would "create a leading global paints and coatings company."

Akzo earlier this year faced lawsuits from shareholders angry over its decision to reject a 26 billion euro takeover offer from US rival PPG Industries.

Analyst Joost van Beek of Theodoor Gilissen said the timing of the Axalta deal will be difficult, and Akzo’s management is under pressure to pull it off.

"There is a large risk that Akzo will pay too much, as it is clear that they want to stay out of the hands of PPG, and Axalta knows that."

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday that talks were at an early stage and there was no guarantee the companies would come to an agreement.

As MRC informed previously, in December 2016, AkzoNobel finalized the acquisition of BASF’s global Industrial Coatings business, which supplies a range of products for industries including construction, domestic appliances, wind energy and commercial transport, strengthening its position as the global number one supplier in coil coatings.

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.

BP Midstream Partners prices IPO at USD18 per unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP Midstream Partners' has announced that its initial public offering was priced at USD18 per unit, below the expected range of USD19 to USD21, raising about USD765 MM, reported Reuters.

The unit of British energy company BP Plc, which sold 42.5 MM units, is scheduled to debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "BPMP" on Thursday, it said in a statement.

The offering values BP Midstream at about USD1.9 B.

The master limited partnership (MLP) was formed by London-based BP's US pipeline unit to transport crude oil, refined products and diluents to customers under long-term agreements.

An MLP structure is often used by pipeline and other capital-intensive companies to distribute excess cash to investors in the form of tax-deferred dividends.

BP Midstream, which operates in the US Midwest and the Gulf of Mexico, posted net income of USD63 MM for the 6 mos ended June 30, on a pro forma basis, the company said in a filling.

Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays are among the top underwriters of the IPO.

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, in Q1 2016, BP PLC sold its petrochemical complex in Decatur, Alabama, to Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. (IVL.TH), for an undisclosed sum, as part BP's plan to restructure its global petrochemicals business. The divestment is in line with BP’s global petrochemicals strategy of pursuing a competitively advantaged portfolio through world-scale, low-cost facilities that utilize BP proprietary technology, including the production of purified terephthalic acid, or PTA, a key raw material in the production of polyester.

BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and produces enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing about 17,000 people across the country, BP supports more than 170,000 additional jobs through all of its business activities.