Tronox CEO placed on leave after being named in insider trading complaint

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Tronox Holdings plc announced 27 December that chairman and CEO Jeffry Quinn will take a leave of absence effective immediately after telling the board that he had been referenced as an unnamed individual in a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaint regarding alleged insider in the shares of Ferro Corporation in February and March of 2016, said Chemweek.

Quinn served as a director of Ferro from May 2013 through August 2016. Neither Tronox nor Tronox’s shares are referenced in the complaints.

Tronox's board appointed John Romano, executive vice president and chief commercial and strategy officer, and Jean-Francois Turgeon, executive vice president and chief operating officer, as co-chief executive officers on an interim basis. In addition, Ilan Kaufthal, lead independent director, has been elected chairman on an interim basis.

An SEC complaint alleges that an unnamed Ferro insider, believed to be Quinn, or his fiancee provided a friend with information in February and March about a private equity firm’s interest in a transaction to acquire Ferro. The complaint alleges the friend, named as a defendant in the case, traded Ferro shares in an associate's name and tipped off other traders with the information. Media reports speculated on a private equity bid by Apollo in March 2016 and Ferro announced in May 2016 that it had retained a banker to advise on strategic alternatives.

Quinn has been a director of Tronox since 2011, was appointed president and CEO in December 2017, and was appointed chairman in March 2019.

As MRC informed earlier, Tronox Limited announced that it has received final approval from the European Commission to close its proposed acquisition of the titanium dioxide ("TiO2") business of The National Titanium Dioxide Company Limited, a privately held global chemical and mining company headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

We remind that Russia's output of chemical products rose in November 2020 by 9.5% year on year. At the same time, production of basic chemicals increased in the first eleven months of 2020 by 6.6% year on year, according to Rosstat's data. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the January-November 2020 output. Last month"s production of polymers in primary form rose to 896,000 tonnes from 852,000 tonnes in October. Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 9,240,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 17.1% year on year.

Pemex says refinery operating normally after explosion report

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex said earlier this month that one of its refineries in the northern state of Nuevo Leon is operating normally after the state governor said the facility suffered two gas explosions, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Pemex said on Twitter that “a loud noise” was heard coming from a stretch of water drainage at Pemex’s Cadereyta refinery.

“It did not cause major damages to people or structures,” Pemex said, adding that the cause of the incident will be investigated.

Earlier on 10 December, Nuevo Leon Governor Jaime Rodriguez said in a tweet that two gas explosions struck the refinery, causing light injuries to five people.

While the Cadereyta refinery features a crude processing capacity of 275,000 barrels per day (bpd), it only processed 97,000 bpd in October, according to Pemex data.

As MRC informed earlier, Pemex is advancing a refinery rehabilitation program that will enable it to process 1.2 million b/d of crude oil by the end of 2020 and evaluating a reconfiguration of its petrochemical facility at Cangrejera, Mexico, into what would be its eighth refinery.

We also remind that in 2016, Pemex shut its steam cracker at its Cangrejera complex for maintenance on February 15. The cracker was idle for about 14 days. The conducted repairs at the cracker were a part of planned maintenance.

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

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world's second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS).

Glencore aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Glencore plans to cut 40% of total emissions by 2035 as it aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, according to Chemweek.

The diversified commodity producer said it would prioritise investments in metals such as cobalt, nickel and copper would contribute to the transition to the low-carbon transition.

Glencore forecasts that copper demand is likely to be at least 15% above 2019 levels along with the growth in renewables power generation capacity, EV sales and associated infrastructure. Copper demand is also projected to increase by 45% by 2035 and 95% by 2050 according to the different scenario it painted.

The demand for zinc is expected to rise to 106% of 2019 levels by 2025 and 145% by 2050.

As MRC reported earlier, in September 2020, Shell announced that it will replace the ethylene steam cracker furnaces at its Moerdijk petrochemicals complex, The Netherlands, in a move that will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Shell will install eight new furnaces in place of 16 older units without reducing capacity at the facility. The investment significantly reduces both the site’s energy consumption and its operational greenhouse gas emissions. The CO? emissions reduction is about 10 percent of Shell Moerdijk’s annual total.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 215,390 tonnes in the first month of 2020, up by 23% year on year. Shipments of all grades of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) increased due to higher capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 127,240 tonnes in January 2020, up by 33% year on year. ZapSibNeftekhim's homopolymer PP accounted for the main increase in shipments.

Perstorp plans to reduce carbon emissions by half million tons through producing sustainable methanol

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Perstorp, a global leader in the specialty chemicals market, has developed a production concept to produce methanol from a large variety of recovered end-of-life streams and hydrogen from electrolysis. Project AIR will build a first-of-a-kind, large scale, commercial Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) unit to produce sustainable methanol, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The methanol plant will be unique in the sense that it is a combined CCU and gasification process where CO2, residue streams, renewable hydrogen and biomethane will be converted to methanol. Perstorp plans to do this in cooperation with Fortum, Uniper and Nature Energy.

"This innovation would both optimize the use of existing technologies whilst building something completely new, as well as demonstrating carbon capture and utilization, using captured CO2 as a raw material. It would be a concrete example of the transition towards a circular economy and of how significant CO2 emission reductions could be achieved by utilizing existing resources and closing loops. This would be an important step for us to achieve our goal of becoming Finite Material Neutral,” said Perstorp’s president and CEO, Jan Secher.

Methanol is one of the most important raw materials for the chemical industry. Project AIR aims to substitute all the 200,000 tons of fossil methanol that Perstorp uses annually in Europe as a raw material for chemical products. The project would support companies downstream in the value chains in their efforts towards renewable/circular materials, reduced carbon footprints, and in their ability to offer sustainable, affordable products. If completed, Project AIR will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 500,000 tons annually. The goal is to start producing sustainable methanol in 2025.

If the required fundings are granted, Perstorp plans to build the methanol plant in Stenungsund, Sweden, utilize its own CO2 and residue streams, and use the methanol to substitute all the fossil methanol used in its production in Europe. Fortum and Uniper plans to supply renewable hydrogen from a new electrolysis plant. One of the world’s largest producers of biogas, Nature Energy will seek to supply biogas to Project AIR.

As MRC informed earlier, Perstorp says it plans to build a large-scale commercial carbon capture and utilization (CCU) unit at Stenungsund, Sweden, dubbed Project AIR, that will use a production concept the company has developed to produce sustainable methanol from a variety of recovered end-of-life streams and hydrogen from electrolysis.

As MRC reported earlier, in December 2017, Perstorp announced world’s first portfolio of renewable alternatives to the essential polyols Pentaerythritol (Penta), Trimethylolpropane (TMP), and Neopentyl glycol (Neo).

As per MRC's ScanPlast report, November total production of unmixed PVC was about 86,100 tonnes versus 86,600 tonnes a month earlier, SayanskKhimPlast and RusVinyl decreased their capacity utilisation last month. Overall output of polymer were 892,100 tonnes in the eleven months of 2020 from 893,600 tonnes a year earlier. Two producers increased their production, whereas two other manufacturers reduced their output.

Perstorp is one of the world leaders in various sectors of the specialty chemicals market, it's pioneer in formalin chemistry, plastics and surface materials. Perstorp was founded in 1881 and is controlled by PAI partners,a major European private equity company. The company has around 1,500 employees in with 22 production plants in Europe, Asia and North America.

Indian Specialty Chemicals firm Anupam Rasayan files for IPO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Anupam Rasayan, a specialty chemicals manufacturer based in Gujarat India, has filed its draft red herring prospectus with the capital market regulator of India, SEBI for Rs 760 crore (USD103.3 million) initial public offering (IPO), according to Kemicalinfo.

Anupam Rasayan intends to use the proceeds mainly for debt repayment. The company has decided to reserve a portion for its employees and may consider a discount for eligible staff.

The Gujarat-based company commenced operations in 1984 with conventional products and has over the years evolved into custom synthesis and manufacturing of life sciences-related specialty chemicals and other specialty chemicals, which involve multi-step synthesis and complex technologies.

The company has two distinct business verticals - life sciences specialty chemicals comprising products related to agrochemicals, personal care and pharmaceuticals. The second vertical is other specialty chemicals, comprising pigment and dyes and polymer additives.

The company’s major clients include Syngenta Asia Pacific, Sumitomo Chemical Company and UPL Limited.

In FY20 and in the six months ended September 2020, revenues from life sciences vertical accounted for 95.37% and 92.48%, respectively, of revenue from operations, while revenue from other specialty chemicals accounted for 4.63% and 7.52%, respectively, during the periods.

It has six multi-purpose manufacturing facilities in Gujarat with a combined aggregate installed capacity of around 23,396 tonnes, of which 6,726 tonnes was added in March 2020.

Axis Capital, Ambit, IIFL Securities and JM Financial are the lead managers to the issue.

As MRC reported previousky, earlier this month, Sumitomo Chemical and Axens signed a license agreement of ethanol-to-ethylene technology Atol for Sumitomo Chemical’s waste-to-polyolefins project in Japan. In the project, to promote circular economy, Axens’ Atol technology will transform ethanol produced from waste into polymer-grade ethylene that will be polymerized in Sumitomo Chemical’s assets into polyolefin, a key product in the petrochemical industry. At full roll-out, the project will enable the production of waste-based polyolefin at industrial scale, which will represent a leapfrog towards a sustainable economy based on renewable carbon.

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.