LG Chem to spin off battery business into separate company

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LG Chem decided to spin off its battery business into a new company amid growing demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, said Chemweek.

It plans officially to launch the new entity with the tentative name LG Energy Solutions on 1 December 2020 after approval from an extraordinary shareholders' meeting to be held on 30 October. LG Chem will possess all the shares issued by the new battery company and it will own 100% of its non-listed shares.

LG Chem says that “it came to the judgment that this is the right time for the corporate spin-off as the battery industry is growing rapidly and structural profits in the EV battery sector are being made in earnest."

LG Chem is targeting sales for the new company of 30.0 trillion South Korean won (USD25.5 billion) in 2024. The expected revenue of the business is about W13 trillion this year. LG Chem has not confirmed if it is planning an initial public (IPO) offering of the new company, but says it will review the situation continuously in in the future.

As worldwide exhaust gas emission and fuel economy regulations are further tightened, major international automakers are advancing the launch of EV models, and the EV battery market is growing rapidly, according to LG Chem. The company is expanding its orders to global automakers to supply the next-generation EV market and plans to strengthen production and quality capabilities.

LG Chem says it will be possible, through the spin-off, to attract large investments, while easing financial burdens by establishing an independent financial structure for each of its business sectors. The company says it will be able to receive appropriate evaluations of the business value for each of its business units including the battery business.

Major battery customers of LG Chem include Hyundai and Kia in South Korea; General Motors (GM), Ford, and Chrysler in the US; and Volkswagen, Renault, Volvo, Audi, Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Porsche in Europe.

LG Chem says that it has currently procured more than W150 trillion in EV battery orders and is investing more than W3 trillion annually in production facilities, and so the need to procure large investment funds in a timely manner has also increased. The company plans to expand its total battery production capacity to more than 100 gigawatt-hours (GWh) by the end of 2020.

By 2023, it is expected to more than double capacity to over 200 GWh. It plans to expand its combined annual capacity to 3.3 million EV batteries by 2020. The company currently operates production bases in Europe, the US, and China, which account for about 90% of the pure EV market.

The company in 2018 decided to invest W2.1 trillion to build a second plant to produce EV batteries at Nanjing, China. In 2019, LG Chem and GM decided to invest USD2.3 billion to establish a battery-cell assembly plant on a greenfield site in the Lordstown area of northeastern Ohio. The company in 2019 secured USD5 billion in loans from South Korea to expand its battery business.

LG Chem says that by concentrating investments in its petrochemicals, advanced materials, and bio sectors, it plans to establish itself as a "global top five chemical company" with balanced business portfolios alongside the battery business.

As MRC informed earlier, LG Chem signed a conditional contract with Ningbo, China-based Ningbo Shanshan to sell a large portion of its liquid crystal display (LCD) polarizer business for USD1.1 billion. The sale reflects LG's strategy of exiting from the LCD business as cut-price Chinese electronics makers, such as Beijing-based BOE Technology, dominate the business.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PE production totalled 1,712,400 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020, up by 58% year on year. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) accounted for the greatest increase in the output. At the same time, overall PP production in Russia increased in January-July 2020 by 24% year on year to 1,063,700 tonne. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.

LG Chem Ltd., often referred to as LG Chemical, is the largest Korean chemical company and is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. According to ICIS report, it is 15th biggest chemical company in the world in 2011. It has eight domestic factories and global network of 29 business locations in 15 countries. LG Chem is a manufacturer, supplier, and exporter of petrochemical goods, IT&E Materials and Energy Solutions.

Agilyx raises USD33 million in private placement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Agilyx says it has raised about 300 million Norwegian krone (USD33 million) through a private placement implying a pre-money equity value for the company of Nkr1.3 billion (USD144 million), according to Chemweek.

The company, which is developing technologies for the chemical recycling of plastic waste, expects to have its shares admitted to the Merkur Market, a multilateral trading facility operated by the Oslo Stock Exchange, with trading to begin on or about 30 September.

The placement was about 10 times oversubscribed, excluding Nkr100 million in shares preallocated to cornerstone investors, says Agilyx, which intends to use the proceeds for project development and delivery, pipeline development and European expansion, R&D expansion, and development of Cyclyx International, a new feedstock management business.

As MRC reported earlier, Agilyx (Tigard, Oregon) and TechnipFMC said this summer they had agreed to collaborate exclusively on the joint development of a process to purify styrene oil into high-purity styrene. The collaboration is the result of over a year of evaluation, and the desire of both companies to expand their energy transition and circular economy offerings, Agilyx says. The aim is to “enable a new production path of styrene via post-use polystyrene (PS) products,” it says.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics was 225,870 tonnes in the first half of 2020, down by 8% year on year. PS consumption in the Russian market increased by 2% year on year in June 2020, totalling 39,590 tonnes.

European Parliament urges EU to prioritize production of APIs and medicines

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The European Parliament says that the EU should become more self-sufficient in medicines and medical equipment so that affordable treatments are available at any time, said Chemweek.

It calls for priority to be given to boosting domestic production of essential and strategic medicines because currently 40% of medicines marketed in the EU originate in non-EU countries and 60-80% of its active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) supplies are produced in China and India.

The COVID-19 health crisis has emphasized the need to return API production to Europe and the EU Parliament has welcomed the EU health program EU4Health, which it says has the potential to ensure safe medicines in Europe can be made available, accessible, and affordable. Meanwhile, members of the European Parliament have asked the European Commission to examine ways to restore pharmaceutical manufacturing in Europe, as part of the EU4Health strategy.

Cefic welcomed the EU4Health program in July because it supports the relaunch of the EU's production of APIs and strengthens procurement of vital medicines, medical devices, and personal protective equipment. EU4Health is a dedicated funding program for 2021-27 to build resilient health systems in the EU that includes investments of EUR9.4 billion (USD11.1 billion), the Commission says.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PE production totalled 1,712,400 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020, up by 58% year on year. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) accounted for the greatest increase in the output. At the same time, overall PP production in Russia increased in January-July 2020 by 24% year on year to 1,063,700 tonne. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.

Surprise draw for weekly US propane, propylene stocks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US propane and propylene inventories fell by 1.2 million barrels (bbl) to 96.1 million bbl in the week ended 11 September, reported Chemweek with reference to the Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s statement on Wednesday.

The result stood in stark contrast to expectations for an average build of 1.3 million bbl, based on an OPIS poll published Tuesday.

Exports increased 146,000 barrels per day (b/d) last week to 950,000 b/d. Imports increased 6,000 b/d to 89,000 b/d.

Product supplied, an indicator of implied demand, increased 382,000 b/d to 1.478 million b/d. Refinery and blender net production increased 38,000 b/d to 2.163 million b/d.

Gulf Coast (PADD 3) stocks plunged 2.1 million bbl to 54.9 million bbl. Midwest (PADD 2) stocks rose by 900,000 bbl to 27.3 million bbl. PADD 1 inventories dropped 100,000 to 8.6 million bbl. PADD 4 and 5 inventories increased 100,000 bbl to 5.3 million bbl.

Propane markets were unmoved by the latest round of EIA data. TET propane prices ranged from 50.75–51.00 cents/gallon, with non-TET at 50.50–51.25 cents/gallon. Conway propane was last seen at 44–45 cents/gallon.

Propylene is the main feedstock for the production of polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, overall PP production in Russia increased in January-July 2020 by 24% year on year to 1,063,700 tonne. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 17.09.2020

1. China key oil product exports set to fall in 2020 amid tepid international demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China is set to register a sharp decline in oil product exports for calendar 2020 and oil companies may fail to fully utilize their export quotas as they find sales in the international market difficult during the coronavirus pandemic, said S&P Global. Over January-September, China was likely to export about 36.2 million mt of oil products, S&P Global Platts estimated based on recent customs data and company export plans. This could mean that Chinese oil companies would have to offer about 20 million mt of oil products into the international market in the fourth quarter if they are to fully use up their quotas.