Wacker issues profit warning, takes impairment charge

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Wacker Chemie has said that it intends to take an impairment charge of around EUR750 million (USD831 million) in its financial statements for 2019 on its hyperpure polysilicon production facilities, as per Chemweek.

The write-down is due to the continued absence of a recovery in solar-grade polysilicon prices on the back of high overcapacity created by Chinese manufacturers, the company says.

The exact amount to be written down will become clear during the completion of the financial statements. The impairment will reduce the value of property, plant, and equipment in the consolidated statement of financial position and also group earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), Wacker Polysilicon’s EBIT, and the group net result for the year. Cash flow will not be affected by the write-down.

"The expected solar-market recovery has not yet materialized, and prices are still very low for polysilicon used in photovoltaic applications," said chief financial officer (CFO) Tobias Ohler. "At the same time, we only have limited visibility at present of how the market will develop. That is chiefly because China’s construction of new solar installations falls short of initial expectations. An additional burden is the high polysilicon overcapacity in China. The Chinese government is subsidizing this expansion not only with loans and incentives, but also by providing polysilicon producers there with coal-generated electricity at extremely favorable prices. We have adjusted our projections for the coming year accordingly."

Wacker’s polysilicon strategy remains unchanged. “We are continuing to work hard to reduce our costs and are keeping our focus on polysilicon for semiconductor applications and on high-quality material for monocrystalline solar cells,” Ohler said.

Due to the impairment, Wacker now expects a net loss for 2019 of around EUR750 million compared with previous guidance of "slightly positive net income." Today’s guidance excludes special income of EUR112.5 million in insurance compensation, which Wacker booked in the third quarter of 2019. Wacker’s net result would exceed EUR100 million before the special effect stemming from the write-down but including this insurance compensation.

As MRC informed earlier, in September 2019, following a construction phase lasting 20 months, Wacker Chemie AG brought a new spray dryer for the production of dispersible polymer powders on stream in Ulsan, South Korea. The plant is part of an ongoing site expansion aimed at boosting the company’s production capacity for dispersions and dispersible polymer powders in Asia.

We also remind that in 2013, Wacker launched a new EVA production plant - with an additional 40,000 tonnes annually - at its Ulsan site in South Korea back in February. The production capacity of the site has, thus, almost doubled then, making the plant complex one of the biggest of its kind in South Korea - thereby solidifying the company's global leading position in this segment.

According to MRC's DataScope report, September EVA imports to Russia fell by 22,7% year on year to 3,420 tonnes from 4,430 tonnes in September 2018, and overall imports of this grade of ethylene copolymer into the Russian Federation decreased in January-September 2019 by 18,2% year on year to 29,190 tonnes (35,690 tonnes in the first nine months of 2018).

Wacker Chemie AG is a worldwide operating company in the chemical business, founded 1914. The company is controlled by the Wacker-family holding more than 50 percent of the shares. The corporation is operating more than 25 production sites in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The product range includes silicone rubbers, polymer products like ethylene vinyl acetate redispersible polymer powder, chemical materials, polysilicon and wafers for semiconductor industry.

Huntsman acquires manufacturer Icynene-Lapolla in India

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Huntsman Corp. has signed an agreement to buy polyurethane spray foam maker Icynene-Lapolla for USD350M in cash, said Plasticsnews.

The deal should close in the first half of 2020. The deal expands Huntsman's footprint in the growing North American spray foam market. It also gains more spray foam technology to go with its Demilec business.

Mississauga, Ontario-based Icynene-Lapolla has annual sales of around USD230M, putting the price at about 10 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortiation.

Tony Hankins, president of Huntsman's polyurethanes division, said the combination of Icynene-Lapolla with its PU spray foam product range and reflective roof coatings, with Huntsman's Demilec PU spray foam business will significantly strengthen Huntsman's energy-saving insulation business.

"This combination of companies will provide Huntsman with the largest global array of spray foam technology. This is the size and type of downstream assets that we will continue to add to our company," CEO Peter Huntsman said. Huntsman is based in The Woodlands, Texas.

Lapolla Industries Inc. was founded in 2005 by Doug Kramer, who became the CEO of Icynene-Lapolla after his firm combined with Icyene Inc. in 2018. Huntsman bought Demilec in March 2018 for $350M.

Huntsman management believes that spray foam will be an important business group. These businesses typically have higher margins and more consistent sales than cyclical commodities like diisocyanates and polyols.

As MRC informed earlier, in August 2019, Huntsman Corp, the US chemicals group, sold two of its businesses to Thailand-based petrochemicals company Indorama Ventures for more than USD2bn.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PET consumption dropped in September 2019 by 10% year on year, totalling 58,210 tonnes. Overall, 551,320 tonnes of PET was processed in Russia in the first nine months of 2019, up 9% year on year.

Huntsman Corporation is a publicly traded global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated and specialty chemicals with 2017 revenues of more than USD8 billion. Its chemical products number in the thousands and are sold worldwide to manufacturers serving a broad and diverse range of consumer and industrial end markets. The company operate more than 75 manufacturing, R&D and operations facilities in approximately 30 countries and employ approximately 10,000 associates within its four distinct business divisions.

Azelis to acquire Ekin Kimya

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Azelis, a leading distributor of specialty chemicals and food ingredients, is delighted to announce it has signed an agreement with Ak-tas D?s Ticaret A.S. (Aktas) and individual shareholders to acquire 100% shares of Ekin Kimya, the leading Turkish specialty chemicals distributor for pharma chemicals, food ingredients and lab chemicals, said the producer.

Headquartered in Istanbul, the company represents a large number of renowned world-class specialty pharmaceutical, food ingredients and lab chemicals manufacturers who have a strong strategic fit with Azelis’ principal and customer base.

Ekin Kimya was founded in 1995 by Dr. Murat C?t?roglu. He owns the company, together with Prof. Dr. Ekrem Ekinci and Aktas, a leading distributor and trader of bulk petrochemicals. Ekin Kimya employs over 70 talented people who are experts in their fields and define the company culture, offering solutions for the benefit of all stakeholders. “One Route, One Team” management approach is embraced by the whole company ensuring strong teamwork and advancement through a clear strategic roadmap.

Azelis and Ekin Kimya share a strong focus on specialty service offerings and technical expertise. In addition to Azelis’ three laboratories in Turkey - personal care, homecare and food - Ekin Kimya will be bringing a modern pharmaceutical lab to the new set-up. This is expected to provide more added value services to Azelis’ existing customer base and will help to further grow the business and emphasize the specialty positioning.

As MRC informed earlier, Azelis Americas CASE, LLC has agreed with Huntsman Advanced Materials’ for a territory expansion. As of Oct. 1, 2019 Azelis will provide its customers access to HAM products in the West Coast and Northeast, complementing its existing relationship in other regions. The new agreement expands the geographic coverage to include the West Coast and Northeast.

Chevron Phillips Chemical contributes USD15 million to circulate capital ocean fund

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC reinforced its commitment to environmental stewardship by making a USD15 million investment in the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF). This is the world’s first investment fund dedicated to incubating and financing companies and infrastructure that prevent ocean plastic in South and Southeast Asia, reported Bloomberg.

"Our company has a vision to help create a fully circular economy where every piece of post-consumer plastic ends up where it should be, finding new uses through recycling, reuse or repurposing," said Jim Becker, vice president of
polymers and sustainability at Chevron Phillips Chemical.

"Our investment with Circulate Capital plays an important role in ensuring plastics continue advancing the sustainable economy. In conjunction with Circulate Capital and so many other industry leaders, we look forward to identifying solutions with the potential for lasting change and achieving the goal of zero plastic waste entering our environment."

CCOF will provide financing to companies and projects to build circular supply chains that can deliver and re-capture resources at scale while preventing the flow of plastic pollution into oceans in South and Southeast Asia. Circulate
Capital has identified more than 200 potential investment opportunities across a range of industries in the region, with their first investments targeted in the coming weeks.

This significant contribution marks the third major enhancement in 2019 to Chevron Phillips Chemical’s sustainability initiatives focused on preventing ocean plastic waste. Earlier this year, the company served as a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a nonprofit pledging more than USD1 billion with a goal of investing USD1.5 billion over five years to eliminate unchecked plastic waste in the environment. In April, Chevron Phillips Chemical expanded its efforts to eliminate plastic pellet spills by becoming a member of Operation Clean Sweep Blue (OCS Blue), an international program with a rigorous commitment to pellet loss reduction.

As MRC informed earlier, on 13 November 2019, Chevron Phillips Chemical's Cedar Bayou, Texas, cracker experienced flaring in its Ethylene Unit EU-1594. Two acetylene reactors were shut down due to instrumentation issues, which resulted in the reactors being cleared to flare, the company said in a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The flare lasted for 6 hours, until Wednesday evening.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,724,670 tonnes in the first ten months of 2019, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market in January-October 2019 totalled 1,066,520 tonnes, up by 7% year on year. Supply of block copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymer) and homopolymer of propylene (homopolymer PP) increased, demand for statistical copolymers (PP random copolymer) decreased.

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC is one of the world’s top producers of olefins and polyolefins and a leading supplier of aromatics, alpha olefins, styrenics, specialty chemicals, plastic piping and polymer resins. With approximately 5,000 employees, the LLC and its affiliates own nearly USD17 billion in assets, including 31 manufacturing and research facilities in seven countries. Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC is equally owned indirectly by Chevron Corporation and Phillips 66, and is headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas.

Turkish wealth fund to invest USD10 B in petrochemical refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Turkish wealth fund will invest around USD10 billion for the construction of a petrochemical refinery in southern Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency said, in a move it said was aimed at alleviating the country’s trade deficit, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Data on Monday showed Turkey’s trade deficit had more than tripled from a year ago to stand at USD2.15 billion in November, according to a special trade system. Both exports and imports rose year-on-year, the data showed.

The Turkish Wealth Fund (TVF), worth $50 billion, was set up in 2016 by the government to develop and increase the value of Turkey’s strategic assets and provide resources for investment. Last year, President Tayyip Erdogan appointed himself chairman of the fund and completely changed its board.

Anadolu, citing information obtained from the TVF, said the fund would to invest around USD10 billion for the construction of a refinery and petrochemical complex in the southern province of Adana. It said that construction will begin in 2021.

The project will create 10,000 jobs during the construction period and another 5,000 jobs when the complex is operational, Anadolu said. It added that the project would contribute around USD1.5 billion annually to Turkey’s trade deficit.

The TVF later confirmed to Reuters that it was planning a greenfield investment in the area, but did not provide further details.

The government has previously transferred to the TVF stakes worth billions of dollars of state assets, including stakes in flag carrier Turkish Airlines, major banks and fixed-line operator Turk Telekom.

In October, the fund’s general manager was quoted as saying the TVF wants to buy the 10% stake of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) in the Istanbul bourse. EBRD is set to sell its stake after the appointment of a former Halkbank executive who was jailed in the United States as CEO of the stock exchange. (Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Can Sezer Editing by Ece Toksabay).

As it was written earlier, Turkey and Ukraine are emerging as possible transit routes for Russian gas to eastern Europe from 1 January 2020. But with less than a month until new transit arrangements are expected to come in place, it is still uncertain whether the gas will flow north to south, or whether it will be shipped from Turkey to northern off-takers.