US specialty chemical markets continue 4th quarter on mixed note, ACC says

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The American Chemistry Council (ACC) reported that fourth quarter U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes continue on a mixed note, with a 0.3 percent decline in November following a 0.1 percent gain in October, said Chemengonline.

All changes in the data are reported on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments ACC monitors, eight expanded in November, off from 14 in October. Eighteen markets declined in November and two were flat, ACC says. During November, large market volume gains (1.0 percent and over) occurred only in electronic chemicals. On a sequential basis, diffusion was 32 percent, off from 55 percent in October.

During November, the overall specialty chemicals volume index was off 0.4 percent on a year-over-year (Y/Y) 3MMA basis. Year-earlier comparisons have eased after the third quarter 2018. The index stood at 112.4 percent of its average 2012 levels in October. This is equivalent to 7.65 billion pounds (3.47 million metric tons). On a Y/Y basis, there were gains in 10 market and functional specialty chemical segments. Compared with last year, volumes were down in 17 segments and flat in one segment. On a year-earlier basis, diffusion was 38 percent, a worsening comparison.

The unadjusted data before the three-month moving average, however, actually rose 0.5 percent during November and follows a 0.5 percent decline in October. Performance chemistry reflects trends in manufacturing and activity is off from fourth quarter 2018 levels.

Specialty chemicals are materials manufactured on the basis of the unique performance or function and provide a wide variety of effects on which many other sectors and end-use products rely. They can be individual molecules or mixtures of molecules, known as formulations. The physical and chemical characteristics of the single molecule or mixtures along with the composition of the mixtures influence the performance end product. Individual market sectors that rely on such products include automobiles, aerospace, agriculture, cosmetics and food, among others.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of chemical products dropped by 3.2% in November 2019 month on month.
However, production of basic chemicals increased by 3.6% in the first eleven months of 2019, according to Rosstat's data. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, the largest increase in production volumes on an annualized basis accounted for mineral fertilizers and polymers in primary form. Last month, 255,000 tonnes of ethylene were produced versus 210,000 tonnes in October; by November, Russian producers had completed all their scheduled works. Thus, 2,721,000 tonnes of this olefin were produced in January-November 2019, up by 0.3% year on year.

Altana acquires specialties firm Schmid Rhyner

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German specialty chemicals company Altana has acquired Schmid Rhyner AG, a Swiss overprint varnish company, said the company.

Schmid Rhyner specializes in print finishing solutions. In 2018, it generated sales of roughly EUR 50 million with around 80 employees. Founded in 1880 and headquartered in Adliswil, Switzerland, with a subsidiary in New Jersey, USA, the company sells its products in over 100 countries worldwide. In addition to protecting packaging with high-quality matt and gloss coatings, Schmid Rhyner products achieve a variety of optical effects. The company also develops innovative solutions for digital printing.

"With the acquisition of Schmid Rhyner AG, we strengthen our technology competence in this area,” says Thorsten Kroller, President of ALTANA's ACTEGA division. “It enables us to open up new markets and application areas, especially in the fields of flexible packaging and digital printing."

Jakob Rohner, CEO of Schmid Rhyner AG: “Our team openly embraces the opportunity of becoming part of ACTEGA. Schmid Rhyner will benefit from the broadened distribution channels for future growth."

Altana will integrate Schmid Rhyner into its ACTEGA business, which produces coatings and sealants, printing inks and adhesives for flexible and rigid packaging and for the graphic arts industry.

As MRC informed earlier, Trinseo, the global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber, has announced its collaboration with Greiner Packaging, a leading European manufacturer of plastic packaging in the food and nonfood sectors, to advance the implementation of recycled polystyrene (PS) used in packaging applications.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics totalled 411,080 tonnes in the first ten months of 2019, which corresponds to the last year's level. October estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics rose by 2% year on year, totalling 46,740 tonnes.

Altana is a global leader in true specialty chemicals. The Group offers innovative, environmentally compatible solutions for coating manufacturers, paint and plastics processors, the printing and packaging industries, the cosmetics sector and the electrical and electronics industry. The product range includes additives, special coatings and adhesives, effect pigments, sealants and compounds, impregnating resins and varnishes, and testing and measuring instruments.


PTT to take off-stream its HDPE No. 2 unit in Thailand for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical Public Co Ltd ((PTTGC) ) is planning to take off-stream its high density polyethylene (HDPE) No. 2 plant in Map Ta Phut in the first quarter of 2020, reported CommoPlast.

Thus, this plant is expected to be shut in late January, 2020. The planned maintenance is likely to remain in force for around 15 days.

Located at Map Ta Phut in Thailand, the HDPE No. plant has a capacity of 300,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, the company also plans to shut if cracker No. 1 for a turnaround in Q1 2020. This cracker is expected to be taken off-line in late January 2020. The planned maintenance is likely to remain in force for around 40 days. Located at Map Ta Phut in Thailand, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 515,000 mt/year and a propylene production capacity of 310,000 mt/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's HDPE production totalled 729,500 tonnes in the first ten months of 2019, down by 8% year on year. Two producers out of three reduced their output.

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.

Chemours to sell plant to Cornerstone

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chemours plans to sell its methylamines and methylamides unit to Belle Chemical, an affiliate of Cornerstone Chemical, said Wchstv.

The sales price was not disclosed. Chemours has signed a letter of commitment with Belle Chemical Co. to sell Chemours' methylamines and methylamides business and production facilities at the Belle location, officials announced Thursday at the Kanawha County Commission meeting.

“That is fantastic news for the Upper Kanawha Valley - fantastic news for Kanawha County,” Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said. “Now that’s what I call a Christmas present."

Belle Chemical signed a letter of commitment to acquire the plant, with the intention of completing the deal on 31 December, Chemours said. Belle Chemical Co. is an affiliate of Cornerstone Chemical based in Louisiana, a county official said.

Earlier this year, Chemours announced it would stop making methylamines and methylamides at the plant. In 2020, it planned to start dismantling the methylamines operations.

Once Belle takes possession of the plant, most of the employees at Belle and others assigned in supporting roles at other locations will become part of Belle, Chemours said. Cornerstone makes acrylonitrile (ACN) and melamine at Fortier, Louisiana. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ACN is a feedstock for the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS).

According to MRC's DataScorpe report, overall ABS imports to the Russian market fell in the first ten months of 2019 by 2% year on year to 28,000 tonnes. This figure was 28,600 tonnes in January-October 2018. October ABS imports to Russia dropped by 4% year on year to 3,500 tonnes from 3,600 tonnes in October 2018. Imports of material into the country were 2,600 tonnes in September 2019.

Chemours is a global leader in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts and chemical solutions, providing its customers in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise and chemistry-based innovations. Chemours ingredients are found in plastics and coatings, refrigeration and air conditioning, mining and oil refining operations and general industrial manufacturing. Chemours has approximately 9,000 employees across 37 manufacturing sites serving more than 5,000 customers in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Chemours is headquartered in Wilmington, Del.

PC exports to Russia via Belarus up by 72% in Jan-Oct 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Exports of polycarbonate (PC) from Belarus grew over the first ten months of 2019 to 4,500 tonnes, up by 72% year on year, according to MRC's DataScope report.

This figure was at 2,600 tonnes in January-October 2018.

Lotte and Sabic's PC is exported via Belarus.

Shipments of material to Russia accounted for 95% (4,300 tonnes) of the total exports in January-October 2019 versus the share of 98% (2,600 tonnes) a year earlier.

However, October PC exports through the Republic of Belarus increased significantly from September to 121 tonnes from 70 tonnes. PC granules imports were 180 tonnes last October.

The share of PC exports to Russia through Belarus rose in October by 19% year on year to 97%.