Bostik of Arkema to acquire decorative flooring technologies firm in Italy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema says its adhesives subsidiary Bostik plans to acquire Ideal Work (Treviso, Italy), a decorative flooring technologies company, reported Chemweek.

The transaction is in line with Arkema’s growth strategy in adhesives and complements Bostik’s range of flooring products for the construction market, the company says. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The acquisition is also consistent with Arkema and Bostik’s CSR ambition, notably due to Ideal Work's micro-cement technology that uses solvent-free products or products with low volatile organic compound emissions, as well as recycled materials, the company says.

Ideal Work has annual sales of about EUR10.0 million (USD11.7 million) and employs 25 people, Arkema says.

As MRC informed previously, earlier this month, Arkema announced the start-up of a new world-scale industrial adhesives plant in Japan. Those new capacities will enable Bostik to serve its Japanese customers in the continuously growing markets of diapers, hygiene, packaging, labelling, transportation and electronics, said the company. This investment is in line with Bostik’s growth and geographical expansion strategy.

We remind that Arkema said in June, 2020, that it has finalized the divestment of its functional polyolefins business to SK Global Chemical. The divestment was announced last year. Arkema says the sale forms part of its strategy to refocus the group’s activities on specialty materials.

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.

Arkema is a global manufacturer in specialty chemicals and advanced materials, with 3 business segments - High Performance Materials, Industrial Specialties, and Coating Solutions - and globally recognized brands. The Group reports annual sales of EUR8.8 billion. Buoyed by the collective energy of its 20,000 employees, Arkema operates in close to 55 countries.

SABIC launches innovative TF-BOPE film for frozen food packaging

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SABIC, a global leader in diversified chemicals, has launched a sustainable packaging solution for frozen food which combines a new polyethylene (PE) grade with innovative film production technology, as per the company's press release.

Compared to conventional blow PE film solutions, it offers significantly higher throughput and also has potential for down-gauging, making it attractive from both a commercial and sustainability standpoint.

The solution is based on a mono web TF-BOPE film structure which has a thickness of only 20 micrometers - an unprecedented benefit in this market. This thin gauge provides a potential packaging material reduction of approximately 35-50% compared to incumbent blown PE film. The reduced thickness of the packaging solution minimizes environmental impact and supports brand owners and retailers who are aiming to reduce their packaging material consumption. The new packaging solution is also 100% recyclable and fits mono-PE recycling streams.

This innovative packaging solution for frozen food is the result of SABIC’s close collaboration with film suppliers/extruders Ticinoplast and Plastchim-T, as well as packaging machine manufacturer Syntegon Technology.

Stephan Eltink, SABIC’s Business Director for PE in Europe, said: “At SABIC, we focus on delivering sustainable solutions and working collaboratively with our customers to help them achieve their ambitions and solve key industry challenges. By working closely with Ticinoplast, Plastchim-T and Syntegon, and by leveraging our innovation together, we have been able to introduce a new solution to the market that allows for more sustainable packaging without any compromise on productivity and consumer convenience.”

Pierre Hamelink, Syntegon’s Director of Business, Market and Sustainability Strategy, said: “This innovative packaging solution demonstrates the true value of collaboration. Stakeholders throughout the supply chain have had to work together to bring this to life: sustainability cannot be achieved single-handedly.” He added: “Our research and development efforts are driven by our mission to deliver sustainability – without compromise. Our new PHS 2.0 sealing technology can process thinner films whilst offering the same level of sealing quality, product protection and processing speed as conventional sealing technologies. When replacing composite packaging materials on new and existing Syntegon machines with films made of SABIC’s BOPE, brand owners benefit from even more material and cost savings.”

TF-BOPE film made of SABIC® LLDPE BX202 material offers tear direction, low tear strength and provides an easy unidirectional opening. Compared to conventional solutions, it offers much better visibility of packaged products due to higher light transmission and lower haze. Meanwhile the high gloss delivers first-class design and aesthetics.

The 20 micrometer thin film was successfully tested on Syntegon’s vertical form, fill and seal machines, which feature the newly-developed PHS 2.0 sealing technology. This technology reduces the amount of clamped film by 25% and increases packaging speed by up to 25%. The thin TF-BOPE film also requires less cooling time which increases packaging speed even more. During the evaluations, a constant speed of 130 bags per minute was achieved.

For packers, TF-BOPE film delivers a robust sealing performance and increased productivity resulting from improved packaging speed. The thin gauge results in increased film roll efficiency which reduces logistic handling, storage space and transport costs.

For converters and brand owners, SABIC’s TF-BOPE film material offers a wide range of benefits that include good printability, cost-saving opportunities, higher yield, less consumption of plastic materials and lower packaging taxes due to reduced material consumption. It further reduces the package weight to product weight ratio, resulting in a more optimized packaging design.

The TF-BOPE film is based on SABIC LLDPE BX202 grade, which is available globally. TF-BOPE stands for Tenter Frame Biaxially Oriented Polyethylene. This is a PE grade that can run in tenter frame machines traditionally used to make Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) film. TF-BOPE has the potential to be used in new applications and markets which support the circular economy, where mono material solutions are required to enhance recyclability. TF-BOPE can replace multi material laminates into a mono-PE structure.

SABIC TF-BOPE polymer is part of the “Design for Recyclability” under TRUCIRCLE solutions and supports easy and full recyclability through enabling mono-PE material structure in multilayer tenter frame of flexible packaging, aiming to minimize waste. This new product can be also available as certified circular polymer from the company’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio. At SABIC, the TRUCIRCLE initiative encompasses the company’s circular materials and technologies, which include certified circular polymers from the chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste and certified renewable polymers based on bio-based renewable feedstock.

As MRC reported earlier, major petrochemicals producer SABIC expects the lifestyle changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to shape the different usage of plastics going forward.

We remind that Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the petrochemicals giant 70%-owned by Saudi Aramco, saw average petrochemical prices in the second quarter plunge by 27% year-on-year as it posted a third consecutive quarterly loss, according to CEO Yousef al-Benyan's statement Aug. 6.

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.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) ranks among the world"s top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world"s market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.

Total acquires lubricants firm Lubrilog

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total’s lubricants business has acquired Lubrilog, a French producer specialising in the formulation and production of high-performance synthetic lubricants, said the company.

Total Lubrifiants, the world’s fourth-largest international lubricants company, announced the acquisition of Lubrilog SAS. Lubrilog SAS is a French company, based in Romans sur Isere, which specialises in the formulation and production of very high-performance synthetic lubricants. The high-quality products of Lubrilog are tailored to specific customer needs and able to meet a wide range of extreme technical constraints.

This acquisition will create value for both Total and its customers. It will strengthen Total Lubrifiants’ position in the industrial lubricants market, bringing a high level of expertise for critical applications in some key sectors such as mining or cement and materials.
With this customer-specific range of products, Total Lubrifiants broadens its high-end products portfolio to offer customers a fully integrated solution on a worldwide scale.

"I am glad to welcome Lubrilog in the lubricants team of Total,” says Pierre Duhot, senior vice president at Total Lubrifiants. “Thanks to our international presence, our teams and engineers around the world will be able to leverage Lubrilog’s high end technical solutions for the benefit of our clients. This step is fully aligned with our strategy to develop technologies and to be the partner of choice of our customers. This range of products is also in line with Total’s Climate Strategy and the Group’s ambition to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 and to reduce the carbon footprint of its customers".

Lubrilog, based at Romans-sur-Isere, south of Lyon, makes perfluorinated lubricants, formulated with raw materials from Solvay’s specialty polymers business, according to its website. The acquisition will strengthen Total’s position in industrial lubricants. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As MRC wrote before, French energy major Total said in April that its joint USD5 billion petrochemical project with Saudi Aramco in the Saudi city of Jubail would not be hit by planned cuts in investment, although the partners were focused on controlling costs.

We remind that 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 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.

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.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 24.09.2020

1. LyondellBasell to cut Houston refinery staff by 10% on pandemic losses

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell Industries said on Tuesday that it plans to cut salaried staff at its Houston oil refinery because of losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. The company confirmed the contents of an email seen by Reuters, in which executive vice president Torkel Rhenman said Lyondell wants "a reduction of approximately 10% of the refinery population." Refiners have posted large losses this year as air and road travel have cratered amid widespread lockdowns and work-from-home policies to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil futures were caught in a range during the mid-morning trade in Asia Sept. 21, even as Libya's state-owned National Oil Corp. lifted the force majeure on oil fields and ports on Sept.19, raising concerns of oversupply in a market plagued by demand uncertainty, reported S&P Global. At 11.15 am Singapore time (0315 GMT), ICE Brent November crude futures were trading at $43.19/b, up 0.04 cents/b (0.09%) from the Sept. 18 settle, while the NYMEX October light sweet crude contract was at $41.14/b, up 3 cents/b (0.07%). Libya's NOC lifted the force majeure on oil fields and ports, excluding facilities where militants are still present, after the Libyan National Army's leader Khalifa Haftar said on Sept.18 in a public broadcast that a blockade on oil exports, effective since Jan. 18, would be lifted immediately. The lifting of NOC's force majeure could result in the return of up to 1.1 million b/d of crude oil that Libya had been pumping to the market before the blockade was imposed, marking a significant increase over the 100,000 b/d pumped during the blockade. The return of Libyan crude could add to the woes of the OPEC+ coalition, which has been struggling with non-compliance issues from members as it tapers its oil output cuts to 7.7 million b/d from August onwards, from the 9.7 million b/d cut mandated from May through July. While the OPEC+ meeting held on Sept. 17, during which Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman secured commitments from compliance laggards to compensate for their excess production, boosted market sentiment, traders are now concerned over the prospect of additional oil from Libya amid weak demand. "The market can ill afford more crude hitting the market," ANZ analysts said in a Sept. 21 note. They reasoned that "The resurgence in COVID-19 infections around the world has seen many governments halt the easing of restrictions".


Celanese raises September EVA prices in Americas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, and a global leader in vinyl acetate ethylene (EVA) emulsions, has announced an increase in its September EVA prices in the Americas, as per the company's press release.

The price increases below are effective for orders shipped on or after 15 September 2020, or as contracts otherwise allow, and are incremental to any previously announced increases.

Thus, EVA prices rose, as follows:

- by USD0.05/lb - for the USA and Canada;
- by USD100/mt - for Mexico & South America.

As MRC reported earlier, Celanese also raised its September prices of EVA emulsions for the stated above regions, as follows:

- by USD0.03/lb - for the USA and Canada;
- by USD66/mt - for Mexico & South America.

According to MRC's DataScope report, June EVA imports to Russia fell by 22,5% year on year to 2,940 tonnes from 3,800 tonnes a year earlier, and overall imports of this grade of ethylene copolymer into the Russian Federation dropped in January-June 2020 by 8,16% year on year to 17,440 tonnes (18,980 tonnes a year earlier).

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,700 employees worldwide and had 2019 net sales of USD6.3 billion.