Gujarat Heavy Chemicals records lower quarterly net income

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chemicals and textiles manufacturer GHCL Ltd on Monday reported a 27.71 percent decline in consolidated net profit to Rs 84.86 crore for the quarter ended September 2020, said Chemweek.

The company had posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 116.84 crore in the July-September period a year ago, GHCL said in a regulatory filing. Revenue from operations dipped 3.47 percent to Rs 806.51 crore as against Rs 835.52 crore in the corresponding period of the previous financial year, it added.

Total expenses stood at Rs 703.84 crore, almost unchanged from Rs 703.18 crore in Q2 FY2019-20. GHCL Managing Director R S Jalan said the company’s businesses are returning towards normal.

"Better consumption patterns, robust improvement in operational efficiencies, cost reduction programs coupled with volume growth have led to improved financial performance,” he said. Revenue from inorganic chemicals segment was down 11.37 percent to Rs 479.90 crore as against Rs 541.50 crore earlier.

Home textiles revenue rose 11.08 percent to Rs 326.61 crore as against Rs 294.02 crore. Shares of GHCL Ltd on Monday settled at Rs 162.95 on BSE, up 3.10 percent from its previous close.

As MRC wrote previously, US chemical volumes are expected to drop nearly 10% this year as global economic activity contracts due to the impacts of COVID-19, according to the American Chemistry Council's (ACC) Mid-Year 2020 Chemical Industry Situation and Outlook. Volumes should recover in 2021 with a return to pre-COVID-19 output levels in the US by the second half of 2021.

Arkema wins the 2020 Pierre Potier Prize for its Elium liquid thermoplastic resin for wind turbines

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema wins the 2020 Pierre Potier Prize for its Elium® liquid thermoplastic resin for wind turbines Elium,liquid thermoplastic resin, a breakthrough innovation in the composites market that enables the manufacture of 100% recyclable wind turbine blades, said the company.

The production of wind energy, both on shore and off shore, is expected to play a major role in the transition towards low-carbon energies. Yet, in this market which counts annual growth of 12 to 15%, tens of thousands of blades are produced around the world every year. These blades use composites based on thermoset resins, which are very difficult to recycle and are therefore most often buried or incinerated at the end of their life cycle, with a significant environmental impact.

Developed in Arkema’s research centre in Lacq (64), Elium® liquid thermoplastic resin is the first ever resin that enables the manufacture of fully recyclable wind turbine blades – a true breakthrough innovation. Recycling, whether mechanical or chemical, is a considerable asset in the life cycle of wind turbines. The parts are first ground and then heated to depolymerise the resin so that it can be separated from the fibre filler. After purification and reformulation, a new liquid thermoplastic resin is obtained with the same characteristics as the virgin resin.

Arkema is thus at the heart of the ZEBRA (Zero wastE Blade ReseArch) consortium led by IRT Jules Verne, an ambitious project that aims to create the first 100% recyclable wind turbine blade and to contribute to the development of environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions for wind power.

"We are immensely proud to receive the Pierre Potier Prize, which commends an innovative and sustainable solution for wind turbine blades at the end of their life cycle – a major challenge for the sector due to considerable volumes involved. With our Elium® thermoplastic resin, we have provided a solution to the environmental challenges of wind power by making it part of a circular economy approach."

Beyond the wind power market, Elium® resin enables the production of a wide variety of fibreglass or carbon-fibre-composite thermoplastic parts of all sizes and with complex shapes. Its economic benefit comes from two major characteristics: its ease of implementation with short hardening times at room temperature and its compatibility with the numerous technologies for processing existing thermosetting resins, thus limiting investments for fabricators already equipped with these machines and opening up a vast range of developments in many sectors such as transportation, construction and the boating industry.

As MRC reported earlier, Arkema said in June, 2020, that it had 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.


Lotte Chemical resumes operations at its cracker in Lake Charles

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical USA, a joint venture (40:60) of the Malaysian company Lotte Chemical Titan and its parent company Lotte Chemical Corporation, has restarted its cracker in Lake Charles in the aftermath of Hurricane Delta's Oct. 9 landfall, reported S&P Global with reference to market sources.

This cracker with the production capacity of 1 million mt/year is nearly half-owned by Westlake Chemical.

Lotte also has restarted its associated 700,000 mt/year monoethylene glycol plant (MEG), market sources said.

Lotte did not respond to a request for comment.

As MRC informed before, South Korea’s Lotte Chemical has delayed the restart of its fire-hit naphtha-fed steam cracker in Daesan for the third time to end-November, from October.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,496,500 tonnes in the first eight months of 2020, up by 5% year on year. Shipments of all ethylene polymers increased, except for linear low desnity polyethylene (LLDPE). At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 767,2900 tonnes in the eight months of 2020 (calculated using the formula - production minus exports plus imports - and not counting producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

Westlake Chemical Lake Charles chlor-alkali units restart post-Delta

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Westlake Chemical has restarted three chlor-alkali plants at its Lake Charles, Louisiana, complex in the aftermath of Hurricane Delta's Oct. 9 landfall, reported S&P Global with reference to sources familiar with company operations.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

US chlor-alkali rates fell to 71% in September from 76% in August, according to the latest industry statistics, reflecting Westlake's shutdowns ahead of Hurricane Laura's Aug. 27 landfall in Louisiana.

The company had restarted the three plants, with a cumulative capacity of 1.27 million mt/year of chlorine and 1.36 million mt/year of caustic soda, by early October, but shut them down again as Delta approached.

Delta followed largely the same path as Laura, with Lake Charles taking a hit twice in six weeks, but Laura was a Category 5 storm with 150 mph winds, which severely damaged major electricity transmission lines that had to be rebuilt, so Lake Charles petrochemical producers remained offline for weeks awaiting the restoration of full load power to comprehensively test their systems before restarting.

Delta, a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds, did not inflict that level of destruction, allowing Westlake and others to restart operations with needed electric power available.

As MRC reported earlier, Westlake Polymers has left in force the declared on Aug. 31 force majeure on its North American polymer facilities after Hurricane Laura adversely impacted its unit sites. Westlake's shutdown of its Lake Charles complex has idled 38% of its US monomer vinyl chloride (VCM) production, resulting in two VCM plants with a combined capacity of 952,318 mt/year going offline.

We remind that August production of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) in Russia were 99,200 tonnes (100% of the basic substance) versus 89,400 tonnes a month earlier, said MRC analysts. Russia's overall output of caustic soda totalled 837,600 tonnes in the first eight months of 2020, down by only 2% year on year.

Westlake Chemical Corporation is an international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and building products with headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company's range of products includes: ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, chlor-alkali and derivative products, PVC suspension and specialty resins, PVC Compounds, and PVC building products including siding, pipe, fittings and specialty components, windows, fence, deck and film.

Ineos to shut phenol plant for maintenance work in Germany

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A 660,000-metric tons/year phenol-acetone plant operated by Ineos in Gladbeck, Germany, will close for maintenance from 27 October until 6 December, reported Chemweek with reference to the company.

“Some of the maintenance works will take place around the clock,” Ineos says. “Therefore, noises that differ from the usual level - especially during the shutdown phase and as part of the restart at the beginning of December - cannot be avoided completely,” it says in a notice to local residents via its website.

“We are not expecting any impact on the phenol market,” says David Potter, executive director/European aromatics and phenolics at IHS Markit. “No one will increase run rates, as there will not be a shortfall of product due to low demand.”

An impact will more likely be felt on the downstream acetone side, where reduced operating rates across Europe - as a reaction to weaker phenol demand - has limited the supply of acetone, he says. “Although demand on the acetone side has been slowly coming down, this turnaround will ensure that spot availability of acetone remains tight,” Potter says.

Ineos produces 409,000 metric tons/year of acetone at the Gladbeck site, according to IHS Markit data.

As MRC wrote previously, INEOS Phenol broke ground at its world scale cumene investment in Marl, Germany, in October 2019. The new state-of-the-art 750 000 t unit is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Its location will help optimise the efficiency of the plant by integrating raw materials from the refinery and cracker complex. The site also benefits from the Marl harbour waterway connection.

Phenol is the main feedstock component for the production of bisphenol A (BPA), which, in its turn, is used to produce polycarbonate (PC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall estimated consumption of PC granules in the Russian market reached 58,000 tonnes in January-July 2020, up by 22% year on year (47,500 tonnes).

INEOS Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company consisting of 15 standalone business units, headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest chemicals company in the world measured by revenues (after BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell) and the largest privately owned company in the United Kingdom.