MOL Group and APK form strategic partnership for plastic recycling

MOSCOW (MRC) -- MOL Group and APK AG signed a strategic cooperation agreement in Merseburg on 1 August, 2018. As a first step in the cooperation MOL will support the completion of APK’s Merseburg plant, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The plant will serve as a pilot for the innovative solvent-based process, called Newcycling, which enables the recovery of high-quality materials from complex multi-layer packaging.

Ferenc Horvath, MOL Group’s EVP for Downstream commented: "In line with MOL 2030 strategy, we are taking steps to grow our petrochemicals business and enter knowledge-intensive industries together with strategic partners. We see a growing demand from our customers for recycled plastics and at the same time, we are also fully committed to the idea of circular economy and sustainability. We aspire to become leaders in recycling in Central and Eastern Europe and with today’s agreement we are marking the first milestone on this journey. MOL, as an established polymer player in CEE, together with an innovative partner as APK will work on further developing the Newcycling technology and bringing it to our core region where the need and the potential for plastic waste recycling is significant."

APK developed an innovative recycling technology named Newcycling that can be applied to a broad variety of mixed plastic types and process them into high-quality recyclates. The first Newcycling plant using APK’s core technology is currently being set-up at APK’s headquarter in Merseburg.

Klaus Wohnig, APK’s speaker of the management board pointed out: "In the last couple of years, APK developed - funded by its financial investors MIG Fonds and AT Newtec - its Newcycling technology considerably and is reaching market maturity now, which we have proven in joint projects with leading players in the packaging, FMCG and plastics industry. We are proud to enter now into a strategic partnership with MOL, a highly-reputed player in the polymer industry, in order to finalize our new plant in Merseburg and to enter jointly CEE, which we assess to be a very interesting market in future, since there is expected to be a strong trend from landfill and incineration towards recycling and a truly circular plastics economy. And with MOL’s strong roots in this region, we think MOL is the perfect partner to step into CEE."

One of the cornerstones of MOL Group 2030 strategy is to expand the company’s petrochemicals value chain. As such MOL Group plans to invest around USD 4.5 billion until the end of the next decade into petrochemical and chemical growth projects. As part of this growth strategy, MOL Group intends to build up its recycling capabilities, as plastic recycling is the most cost-efficient and environmentally friendly option for a responsible management of plastic waste. Plastic packaging is one of the key strategic segments defined in MOL’s 2030 Enter Tomorrow Strategy and a sector where both partners recognize a growing demand for recycled materials.

As MRC reported earlier, in June 2018, MOL Group entered into a strategic partnership with INOVACAT, a Dutch technology innovator in the refining and petrochemical industries. The cooperation is expected to further upscale and commercializes INOVACAT’s breakthrough GASOLFINTM technology that converts naphtha into propylene, butylene and BTX (benzene, toluene, and xylene), while supporting MOL’s strategic objective to become a leading chemical company in Central Eastern Europe.

BASF completes acquisition of certain assets from Bayer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has completed its acquisition of most of the businesses and assets from Bayer that the company was required to divest as part of its purchase of Monsanto, as per AgriPulse.

Included in the nearly USD9 billion purchase price is Bayer’s digital farming business and its global glufosinate-ammonium business.

"This strategic move adds excellent assets to our strong agricultural solutions portfolio and enhances our innovation potential,” said Dr. Martin Brudermuller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors and Chief Technology Officer of BASF SE. “Overall, it ensures an even more comprehensive and attractive offering to our customers."

In October, Bayer agreed to sell its global glufosinate-ammonium non-selective herbicide business, commercialized under the Liberty, Basta and Finale brands, as well as its seed businesses for key row crops in select markets, to BASF for about USD7 billion. In April, Bayer agreed to add its global vegetable seeds business and other assets, such as certain glyphosate-based herbicides in Europe that are predominantly used in industrial applications.

The addition of those assets boosted the overall price of the sale to nearly USD9 billion.

Paul Rea, senior vice president of BASF’s North American crop division, offered more detail on the purchases. "The scope now includes Bayer’s R&D platform for hybrid wheat and canola-quality juncea; a number of seed treatment products; and the complete digital farming platform Xarvio." The company said it expects the acquisition of Bayer’s vegetable seed business to be completed soon.

Scott Kay, BASF’s vice president-U.S. Crop, said today on a conference call with reporters that "by adding glufosinate to our broad herbicide portfolio, we can provide farmers with complementary crop protection and are able to develop new formulations and mixtures for better resistance management."

He added, "Our new seeds business in key field crops such as canola, cotton, soy and wheat, gives farmers more options in high-quality seeds."

As MRC wrote 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. The transaction included relevant technologies, patents and trademarks, as well as two manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Approximately 400 employees from BASF’s Industrial Coatings business join AkzoNobel, bringing expertise to innovate and serve an expanded customer base worldwide.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.

Indian Oil sells naphtha from Paradip refinery for first time in more than a year

MOSCOW (MRC) - Indian Oil Corp (IOC) sold a naphtha cargo from its Paradip refinery this week, four traders that participate in the market said in what was likely the first sale since May 2017, as per Reuters.

IOC sold up to 30,000 tonnes of naphtha on late Thursday in two separate cargoes for second-half August loading from Paradip to a trading house at discounts of about USD14 a tonne to its own price formula on a free-on-board (FOB) basis, the traders said.

IOC this year stopped exporting naphtha from Paradip, which can process 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, as it was using the fuel as feedstock for gasoline production, said the traders, who closely track Indian cargoes.

Indian Oil last offered a cargo of naphtha from Paradip for loading in May 2017, Reuters previously reported, though it was unclear if the cargo was finally sold.

The company conducted a 45-day maintenance at Paradip starting in March while it has regularly been exporting naphtha from its Chennai plant.

The sales added to rare offers from Reliance Industries and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL).

HPCL offered up to 20,000 tonnes of naphtha for loading from Aug. 19 to 24 from Visakhapatnam, the first cargo out of the refinery this year, through a tender closing on Aug. 6, the traders said.

EQUATE posts record Q2 net income

MOSCOW (MRC) -- EQUATE Group, a global producer of petrochemicals, reported its highest second quarter earnings in its history, as per the company press release.

Net income for the EQUATE Group for 2Q, 2018 was USD427 million, up 75 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.

Total revenue was USD1.26 billion for 2Q, 2018, up 37.5 per cent compared to Q2, 2017.

EBITDA for Q2 was USD570 million in 2018, compared to USD383 million in second quarter of 2017, an increase of 48.7 per cent.

For the first half of the year, the EQUATE Group realized a record breaking EBITDA of USD1.15 billion, an increase of 34 per cent over the same period last year. First half net income was USD $862 million, up 56 per cent from 1H of 2017.

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandran, President and CEO of EQUATE, said, “EQUATE’s higher earnings in second quarter of 2018 were primarily driven by high prices in EG across the globe and a very good pricing environment in the PE and PET businesses. Operational reliability in the second quarter continued to be excellent which enabled us to capitalize on the high prices. Safe operations remain our number one priority globally. Good cost control and the cost and growth synergies from the MEGlobal merger have also enabled EQUATERs to deliver an outstanding quarter."

MOL posts Q1 loss as average bunker price rises 37%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hungarian oil and gas company MOL's second-quarter revenue climbed year-on-year but net income fell 18% to HUF 72.9 billion because of a financial loss, an earnings report shows, as per the company's press release.

Total operating revenue rose 31% to HUF 1.343 trillion. Total operating costs rose a little faster, increasing 33% to HUF 1.223 tln. Operating profit was up 12% at HUF 119.4 bln. The bottom line was hit by a net financial loss of HUF 24.3 bln, compared to a net financial gain of HUF 5.2 bln in the base period, national news agency MTI reported.

Net sales of MOL?s downstream business rose 34% to HUF 1.195 tln and EBITDA of the segment increased 43% to HUF 104.5 bln.

In the upstream segment, revenue was up 32% at HUF 130.9 bln and EBITDA climbed 26% to HUF 86.9 bln. Group level hydrocarbon production averaged 109,300 barrels of oil equivalents per day in Q2, level with the base period, but realized hydrocarbon prices climbed 38% as the price of Brent jumped.

Sales of the consumer services business were up 44% at HUF 405.7 bln and its EBITDA increased 11% to HUF 29.7 bln. The increase was driven by higher fuel consumption as well as expanding fuel and non-fuel margins, MOL noted.