COVID-19 - News digest as of 13.08.2020

1. LG Chem records substantial rise in net income, improved petchems performance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. reported more than doubled operating profit in the second quarter as electric vehicle demand stayed robust despite virus pandemic and further cemented the leadership of the world’s battery bestseller, with the order book packed for the third quarter, said Chemweek. In its regulatory filing on Friday, LG Chem announced its consolidated operating profit in the April-June period reached 571.6 billion won (USD480 million), sharply up from 206 billion won a quarter ago and 247 billion won a year earlier.


SRF commissions USD94 million BOPET plant in Hungary

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Industrial and specialty intermediates manufacturer SRF Ltd. (New Delhi, India) has announced the establishment of a biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BOPET) plant at Jaszfenyszaru, Hungary, said Chemweek.

The BOPET plant will be built with an investment of EUR80 million (USD94 million). The facility entails a 10.4 m wide BOPET film line, with a production capacity of 40,000 metric tons/year.

SRF operates production sites in India, South Africa, and Thailand. The company announced earlier this month its plans to build a chloromethanes plant in India. The plant will have a production capacity of 100,000 metric tons/year and is due to be completed by January 2022. It is being built at a cost of 3.15 Indian billion rupees (USD42 million).

The company reported a 6.4% decline in net profit for the fiscal first quarter ended on 30 June to Rs1.77 billion compared with the corresponding period a year earlier. Revenue decreased by 12.3% year on year to Rs15.4 billion.

As MRC informed earlier, Royal DSM, a global science-based company in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living, announces that it has reached agreement with SRF Ltd., to acquire its Engineering Plastics business, a leading player in India in the development, production and sale of specialty materials.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PET consumption totalled 367,720 tonnes in the first six months of 2020, up by 19% year on year. Russian companies processed 62,910 tonnes of material in June.

The multi-business corporate group SRF with head quarters in Gurgaon, India. SRF claims to be India’s second largest thin PET film manufacturer, with overall capacity for 60 KTa. The company has eight manufacturing plant locations in India and one each in UAE, Thailand and South Africa. The market leader in most of its businesses in its home market in India, SRF is the world's 2nd largest manufacturer of both the Nylon 6 tyre cord as well as the belting fabrics.

Total and Indian Oil Corp. form bitumen derivatives JV

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian Oil Corp., and Total have announced the formation of a 50:50 joint venture (JV) company that will manufacture and market bitumen derivatives and specialty products for the growing road-building industry in India, according to BusinessWire.

Total is the leading bitumen manufacturer and supplier in Europe, while IndianOil is the largest player in the Indian bitumen market. The two companies have already an established business relationship in India, notably in LPG and fuel additives businesses.

The new JV will manufacture and market innovative bitumen formulations and products such as polymer-modified bitumen, crumb rubber modified bitumen, bitumen emulsions and other specialty products. The JV will set up manufacturing units across the country and also explore possibilities to cater to other South Asian markets.

“India is a strategic country for the future of Total and we are delighted by this partnership, yet another testimony of our commitment to this fast-growing market,” highlighted Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman and CEO of Total. “Today, Total is further cementing its longstanding business cooperation with IndianOil, into a strong and sustainable new partnership. With this agreement, we are pursuing the growth of businesses with key Indian energy players, adding to our ongoing developments in renewables, gas and power.”

Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, Chairman of IndianOil said: “The IndianOil-Total joint venture company would combine IndianOil’s credentials as India’s Flagship National Oil Company and the Total’s strength as an International Energy Major. This would cater to B2B customers involved in road infrastructure development, both in the government and private sectors and I am confident that this would start a revolution in road construction activities in the country by providing superior technology products at competitive prices”.

He added: “This joint venture company would bring in latest technologies and formulations for Polymer Modified Bitumen (PMB) and other fast-growing non-conventional derivatives such as Cold Mix & Micro Emulsion, Block Bitumen, etc. to the Indian market. The operations of this JV would commence by taking over an existing plant of Total at Jodhpur and subsequently set up new Greenfield plants”.

The Government of India has a strong focus on developing the country’s road infrastructure with mega projects like the ‘Bharatmala project’ which envisages development of 34 800 km of roads at an estimated investment of over Rs. 5 lakh crore in the first phase (equivalent to approximately USUSD66 billion).

As MRC reported before, in November 2019, Total disclosed that itis evaluating construction of a new gas cracker at its Deasan, South Korea, joint venture (JV) with Hanwha Chemical.

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

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited, or IndianOil, is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation with its headquarters in New Delhi, India.

Sumitomo Demag reports jump in H1 despite coronavirus

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japanese-German injection moulding machine manufacturer Sumitomo Demag saw H1 orders for machines produced in Germany and China rise nearly 25% year on year, despite the coronavirus health crisis, said Canplastics.

Compared with the first half of 2019, injection molding machine manufacturer Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is ending the first half of 2020 with what it calls "a healthy order book." During the first six months, the value of incoming orders for machines produced in Germany rose by almost 25 per cent.

In an Aug. 12 statement, the German-Japanese company described itself as “cautiously optimistic for the future". CEO Gerd Liebig attributes the positive results primarily to demand coming from the packaging and medical technology sectors. "Our intentional strategic focus on these two growth markets over the past few years has placed us in a stronger position, helping us to survive during these difficult times with a strong order increase,” he said in the statement.

By contrast, demand from the automotive industry has slumped sharply for the firm, and its forecast for the consumer segment is also cautious: “Due to the tense situation on the labour market and the declining propensity of consumers to buy, [we] anticipate a lower inclination among molders to invest," the statement said.

As a result of stable sales, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag expects to report a year-on-year 17per cent increase in overall incoming orders for 2020. "Our plant in Wiehe [Germany] is operating at full capacity and from November 2020 we will be producing the all-electric small machines at the historic high cycle,” Liebig said. “The strategic focus on this series is now paying off in full: By the second half of 2020, we will double our production capacity once again in order to meet demand.

As a result of this increase, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is pushing ahead with the planned cooperation with its Japanese parent company, with Japan commencing production of IntElect machines later in 2020.

As it was written earlier, in July, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery completed the expansion and modernisation of its training centre and embarked on the next phase of its growth strategy by breaking ground on a new 1600 m2 warehouse, both at its site in Schwaig, Germany.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of chemical products rose in June 2020 by 2.6% year on year. However, production of basic chemicals increased year on year by 4.9% in the first six months of 2020. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the output in January-June. Production of benzene was 106,000 tonnes in June 2020, compared to 110,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall output of this product reached 721,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 3.9% year on year.


Sealed Air, Plastic Energy to collaborate on recycling

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sealed Air (Charlotte, North Carolina) has signed a collaboration agreement with Plastic Energy (London, UK), a chemical recycler of plastics, and made an equity investment in its parent, Plastics Energy Global, as per Chemweek.

"This collaboration will help us meet our 2025 sustainability pledge and lead the way in transforming our industry," says Ted Doheny, president and CEO of Sealed Air, the company that invented Bubble Wrap.

The pledge, which Sealed Air announced in 2018, sets a target of 50% average recycled content across all packaging solutions, with 60% coming from post-consumer recycled content. The pledge also includes a commitment to increase recycling and reuse rates through collaborations such as the investment in Plastic Energy, says the company. In 2019, Sealed Air joined the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.

Plastic Energy has a patented technology for the anaerobic thermal conversion of polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene waste to naphtha and diesel fuel. The company, which currently operates two commercial plants in Spain, aims to process 300,000 metric tons of plastic waste by 2025. Partners include Petronas, SABIC, and Ineos.

As mRC informed earlier, bubble wrap maker Sealed Air Corp. is acquiring Automated Packaging Systems Inc. (APS), an Ohio-based manufacturer of automated bagging systems, for USD510 million.

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.