SPAC to buy PP recycler PureCycle, create publicly-traded firm

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Roth CH Acquisition I Co., a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) backed by investment firms Roth Capital Partners and Craig-Hallum Capital Group, says it has acquired polypropylene (PP) recycling firm PureCycle Technologies in a deal that values PureCycle’s post-transaction equity at about USD1.2 billion, reported Chemweek.

Under the deal, a new holding company named PureCycle Technologies Inc. will be created and listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol 'PCT.'

The deal includes an US835 million issuance of new stock to current PureCycle shareholders, USD250 million in private investment in public equity (PIPE) financing led by a variety of investment firms and family offices, and USD76.5 million in funding from a Roth CH trust account. Major shareholders are subject to contractual lock-ups for portions of their shares, and additional shares of PureCycle may be issued if milestones are met related to share performance and completion of expansion plans.

PureCycle has an exclusive license to commercialize a patented solvent-based purification recycling technology for PP recycling developed by Procter & Gamble (P&G; Cincinnati, Ohio). “PureCycle’s Ultra-Pure Recycled Polypropylene (UPRP) has nearly identical properties and applicability for reuse as virgin polypropylene,” the company says. PureCycle has offtake agreements with a number of firms, including L’Oreal, P&G, Milliken & Company, BMW iVentures, and Total.

The company is building a plant at Ironton, Ohio, which is expected to start up in late 2022. Full nameplate capacity of 107 million pounds/year will be reached in 2023. PureCycle has further plans to construct facilities in Europe and the US, with an goal of reaching 1.2 billion pounds/year in recycled PP output in the next five years. The company is also aiming for $800 million in annual revenues by 2024.

“Our recycling process produces virgin-like resin that we believe is suitable for high-value, food-grade consumer products, and we believe we are well-positioned to meet the consumer demand for recycled content as well as global sustainability mandates,” says PureCycle CEO Mike Otworth. “The proceeds of this transaction are intended to provide us with the balance sheet strength to accelerate the global rollout of our proven technology addressing the immense global problem associated with polypropylene waste.”

Roth CH “searched for a business combination that would not only be a compelling growth company but could also benefit from the relationships and experience of our two growth investment banks,” says CEO Byron Roth.

The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. PureCycle’s management team, including Otworth, COO David Brenner, and CFO Michael Dee, will remain in place.

As MRC informed before, in September 2020, Milliken (Spartanburg, North Carolina) said it had joined the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition (PRC), an industry collaboration launched in July by The Recycling Partnership (TRP) aimed at improving recovery and recycling of PP in the US.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 880,130 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020 (calculated using the formula: production minus exports plus imports, excluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

OQ Chemicals raises solvents prices in Americas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- OQ Chemicals (Monheim am Rhein, Germany) will increase its solvents prices in the Americas from 1 December or as contracts allow “due to strong demand and increasing raw materials costs,” reported Chemweek with reference to the company's statement.

In North America and Mexico, the prices of 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) and n-propanol will rise by 5 cents (cts) per pound (lb); n-butanol and isobutanol by 4 cts/lb; and n-butyl acetate, isobutyl acetate, and n-propyl acetate by 3 cts/lb.

In South America, prices for 2-EH and n-propanol will rise by USD110/metric ton; n-butanol and isobutanol by USD88/metric ton; and n-butyl acetate, isobutyl acetate, and n-propyl acetate by USD66/metric ton.

The manufacturer of oxo intermediates and oxo derivatives raised its prices globally for neopentyl glycol earlier this week.

As MRC wrote earlier, in September 2020, OQ Chemicals entered into an agreement to license its advanced proprietary technology for the production of ethylene and propylene derivatives to Duqm Refinery and Petrochemicals Industries Company (DRPIC) in Oman. DRPIC, a joint venture between Oman Oil Company and Kuwait International Oil Company, is a planned grassroots petrochemical complex at Duqm, Oman. In all, DRPIC awarded twelve license packages to international licensors.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,594,510 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020, up by 1% year on year. Only high denstiy polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 880,130 tonnes in the nine months of 2020 (calculated using the formula: production minus exports plus imports, exluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

OQ Chemicals, formerly Oxea, is a global manufacturer of oxo intermediates and oxo derivatives, such as alcohols, polyols, carboxylic acids, specialty esters, and amines. These products are used for the production of high-quality coatings, lubricants, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, flavours and fragrances, printing inks and plastics. OQ Chemicals is part of OQ, an integrated energy company that delivers sustainability and business excellence. OQ operates in 16 countries and covers the entire value chain from exploration and production to the marketing and distribution of its products.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 17.11.2020

1. Chevron to lay off about 25% of Noble Energy employees after merger

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chevron Corp will lay off about 25% of Noble Energy's employees who joined the oil major after its USD4.1 billion purchase of the smaller rival earlier this month, the company announced, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. A collapse in crude oil prices has forced most oil and gas producers to drastically cut costs by laying off thousands of employees and cutting down on drilling. For many companies, consolidation with larger players at low or no premiums is becoming the only option to survive. The job cuts, which are on top of Chevron’s plan to reduce 10%-15% of its own workforce, come after the company promised to lower its operating expenses by USD1 billion this year to cope with the downturn. Chevron’s 10%-15% cuts would imply a reduction of between 4,500 and 6,750 jobs, while job cuts at Noble will reduce the total workforce by roughly another 570 positions.


PVC imports to Russia down by 16% in Jan-Oct 2020, exports dropped by 1%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) into Russia totalled 38,500 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, down by 16% year on year. At the same time, exports decrease by 1%, according to MRC's DataScope report.
Last month's SPVC imports to Russia fell to 2,300 tonnes from 4,200 tonnes. The devaluation of the rouble against the dollar and high prices of resin in foreign markets forced Russian companies to significantly reduce their imports. Thus, overall imports were 38,500 tonnes in January-October 2020, compared to 45,900 tonnes a year earlier, with resin from China and the United States accounting for the main reduction in imports. PVC shipments from these countries decreased by almost a third over the stated period.
At the same time, strong demand for resin from the domestic market allowed Russian producers to reduce their export sales. October exports of suspension did not exceed 10,000 tonnes (excluding shipments to Belarus and Kazakhstan) versus 11,300 tonnes a month earlier. Thus, overall PVC exports totalled 165,700 tonnes in January-October 2020, compared to 167,800 tonnes a year earlier.


Sasol announces beneficial operation at its LDPE plant in Louisiana

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sasol has announced its low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant reached beneficial operation on 15 November 2020, as per the company's press release.

The LDPE unit is the seventh and final Lake Charles Chemicals Complex unit to come online. The LCCP is now 100% complete with total capital expenditure forecast to be within the previously communicated guidance of USD12,8 billion.

“This milestone safely brings our Lake Charles Chemicals Project to a close and sets the stage for the next step in the evolution of our chemicals business,” said Sasol President and Chief Executive Officer Fleetwood Grobler. “The completion of this unit and its impending transition to our joint venture with LyondellBasell will accelerate our transformation to a more specialty chemicals-focused company with a strong presence of base chemicals in our portfolio.”

Sasol’s LDPE unit uses ExxonMobil technology and has a nameplate capacity of 420,000 tons per year (420 ktpa). LDPE is used to manufacture plastic bags, shrink wrap and stretch film, coatings for paper cups and cartons, container lids, squeezable bottles, and other applications. The beneficial operation of the final LCCP unit signals that 100% of total nameplate capacity of the LCCP is operational.

The LDPE unit is one of the three LCCP plants that will form part of the Sasol/LyondellBasell Louisiana Integrated Polyethylene joint venture.

To date, Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemicals Project has generated more than 800 full-time quality manufacturing jobs, with up to 6,500 people on site during construction, USD4 billion to Louisiana businesses and nearly USD200 million in local and state taxes.

As MRC reported earlier, Sasol said Sept. 21 the new LDPE plant, which had been slated to start up in early 2020 before it was damaged by fire during commissioning in January, did not sustain any significant storm impacts. And the company resumed commissioning the plant then.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, September estimated LDPE consumption in Russia fell to 23,930 tonnes from 47,610 tonnes a month earlier. Russian producers reduced their domestic LDPE shipments due to shutdowns for maintenance at production capacities in Ufa, Tomsk and Kazan. Russia's estimated LDPE consumption totalled about 406,500 tonnes in January-September 2020, which virtually corresponded to the last year's figure.

Sasol is an international integrated chemicals and energy company that leverages technologies and the expertise of our 31 270 people working in 32 countries. The company develops and commercialises technologies, and builds and operates world-scale facilities to produce a range of high-value product stream, including liquid fuels, petrochemicals and low-carbon electricity.