Synthos restarts E-SBR facility after fire

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Synthos (Oswiecim, Poland) has restarted its 185,000-metric tons/year emulsion styrene butadiene rubber (E-SBR) facility in Oswiecim following a fire on 7 January, reported Chemweek with reference to the producer's statement to OPIS Monday.

"Production (has) restarted," Synthos confirmed. "The event doesn't have any impact on the operations and delivery of products from other business units of the company."

Production at the Synthos Dwory E-SBR unit in Oswiecim was idled after the fire broke out following an explosion on 7 January "in the incinerator of the E-SBR rubber production installation," according to a company statement. The synthetic rubbers segment represents a considerable part of its operations, according to Synthos.

Synthos produces 120,000 metric tons/year of styrene and 105,000 metric tons/year of expandable polystyrene (EPS) at Oswiecim and it makes 50,000 metric tons/year of polystyrene (PS) at the site, according to IHS Markit data. The company also produces synthetic adhesives and latex. E-SBR is used in the production of various downstream items including car tires, conveyor belts, and footwear.

As MRC informed earlier, Polish chemicals and plastics group Synthos has launched a new eco-friendly EPS grade for heat insulation panels which includes recycled polystyrene raw material. Synthos, headquartered at Oswiecim in southern Poland, started extruding the product, ‘InVento Optima’ on a dedicated line installed at its base manufacturing site at the end of 2018.

SM is the main feedstock for the production of PS.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics totalled 454,990 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020, which corresponds to the previous year's figure. November estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics grew by 4% year on year to 45,830 tonnes.

Synthos SA is one of the largest producers of petrochemical products in Poland and is the largest producer of emulsion rubbers in Europe. Besides, it is the third largest European EPS producer.

Kemira upgrades 2020 earnings projection

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kemira says it has upgraded its 2020 earnings projection following "good demand and cost management" in the fourth quarter, reported Chemweek.

The company now estimates its operative EBITDA in the second half of 2020 to have been above the EUR214.0 million (USD260.4 million) of the first half, and operative EBITDA for full-year 2020 to have increased from EUR410 million in 2019.

The new update is partly a reversal of the estimate the company provided in October 2020, according to which it expected its operative EBITDA in the second half of 2020 to be lower than in the first half of the year. The expectation for full-year operative EBITDA is the same as in October’s update.

In November, Kemira updated its 2020 financial targets and said it was aiming for an operative EBITDA margin of 15–18%, growth above market rates, and a debt/equity ratio below 75%.

As MRC informed earlier, in September 2020, Kemira signed a multi year extension of its polymer supply agreement with Ithaca Energy. Kemira said it had signed a multiyear extension to its polymer supply agreement with Ithaca Energy (Aberdeen, UK). The agreement extends the contract between the two companies, signed in 2018, covering the supply of polymers to enhance oil extraction performance at one of the assets operated by Ithaca Energy in the UK North Sea.

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.

PPG raises offer for Tikkurilia in response to competing bid

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG Industries says it has raised its offer for Tikkurila to EUR1.24 billion (USD1.52 billion), or EUR27.75/share, in response to Tikkurila’s receipt of an undisclosed rival bid, according to Chemweek.

PPG announced the acquisition of Tikkiurila for an original price of EUR1.1 billion, or EUR25/share, on 18 December. The revised offer represents an 84.5% premium on Tikkurila’s closing price as of 17 December, the last trading day before the deal was announced.

Tikkurila is a major producer of decorative paints and coatings, with operations in 11 countries, principally in Northern Europe. The company reported EUR564 million in revenue in 2019.

“We will be able to extend the reach of the strong Tikkurila products, and immediately utilize Tikkurila’s well-established distribution network across the Nordic region for a wide variety of PPG products,” says PPG chairman and CEO Michael McGarry. “From a cost standpoint, the Tikkurila management team has implemented a broad margin improvement program over the last couple of years, and we will continue that momentum with supply chain and other traditional acquisition-related synergies.”

The tender offer for all outstanding shares in Tikkurila will commence on or around 15 January, and the deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

PPG has announced multiple significant acquisitions in recent weeks. Earlier today, PPG announced the acquisition of VersaFlex, a maker of specialty coatings for industrial and infrastructure end markets, and in November the company said it would acquire transportation coatings maker Ennis-Flint.

As MRC reported previously, in February 2020, PPG said it had completed its acquisition of Industria Chimica Reggiana (ICR, Reggio Emilia, Italy), a maker of automotive refinish products. Financial terms of the deal, including purchase price, were not disclosed. The deal was announced on 8 January. ICR was founded in 1961 and employs about 180 people. ICR manufactures automotive refinish products, including putties, primers, basecoats and clear coats. It also makes a range of coatings, enamels and primers for light commercial vehicles and other light industrial coatings applications. ICR employs about 180 people and sells its products in more than 70 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the US and Latin America.

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. November 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.

Azelis acquires firms in the Philippines

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Azelis has announced that it will acquire majority shares of Asia Primera Kimika (APKI) and Phil-Asiatic Supply & Services (PSSI), said Chemweek.

APKI and PSSI offer distribution and services in personal care, home care, paints, coatings, construction and inks, industrial chemicals and supply management.

Their strong market presence in personal care would benefit directly from the Philippine population’s increasing purchasing power and growing access to premium products, Azelis said.

“Entering the important and growing market of the Philippines will help us gain an even better coverage in the entire region which is key for us to attract new mandates with our existing principals,” said Laurent Nataf, CEO and president, Azelis Asia Pacific.

The deals are expected to close within the next three months. Financial details were not disclosed.

As MRC informed earlier, in October 2020, Azelis opened a new application and training center in Istanbul, Turkey. This center will service the Turkish food, personal care and pharma markets and will offer product advice, formulation development and technical research. Next to that, it will host customer meetings, interactive formulation workshops, supplier meetings and internal technical trainings.

We remind that Russia's output of chemical products rose in October 2020 by 7.2% year on year. At the same time, production of basic chemicals grew in the first ten months of 2020 by 6.3% 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-October output. October production of polymers in primary form grew to 857,000 tonnes from 852,000 tonnes in September. Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 8,340,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 17% year on year.

Honeywell introduces simplified technology to produce renewable diesel

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Honeywell announced that it has introduced a single-stage UOP Ecofining™ technology offering for the production of renewable diesel fuel, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The new single-stage technology is a fast-to-market, low capital cost solution that is ideal for repurposing an underutilized hydrotreating or hydrocracking unit, producing higher yields of renewable diesel fuel than other single-stage technologies.

The single-stage Ecofining process produces Honeywell Green Diesel fuel which is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel and can be used as a drop-in replacement in vehicles with no modifications. It also features up to an 80-percent lifecycle reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with diesel made from petroleum.

The new process uses a combination of catalysts in a single unit to clean and remove oxygenates and other contaminants from the feedstock, and then isomerize the feed to improve its cold-flow properties. Due to its simplified design, the single-stage Ecofining technology can be put into service quickly, and with lower capital expense than other designs.

"Interest in renewable fuels production continues to grow as customers work to meet sustainability goals and find new uses for existing assets,” said Ben Owens, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions. “The new single-stage Ecofining process can help a refiner meet stricter regulations for sustainable fuels production with significant revenue advantages and minimal equipment and space requirements."

The single-stage Ecofining process also provides greater flexibility to expand into a full two-stage Ecofining process in the future. Two-stage designs can process feedstocks including used cooking oils and animal fats, and produce renewable jet fuel. This established technology is ideal for refinery revamps where an additional reactor is available, or may be added, for green feed processing.

Honeywell UOP jointly developed the Ecofining process with Eni SpA. It converts non-edible natural oils and animal fats to Honeywell Green Diesel, which offers improved performance over biodiesel and petroleum-based diesel. The Ecofining process produces diesel with a cetane value of 80, substantially higher than the 40-to-60 cetane diesel commonly used in diesel engines today. As a result, this higher-cetane diesel fuel provides better engine performance with fewer emissions and can be blended with cheaper low-cetane diesel to meet transportation fuel standards.

The UOP Ecofining process is used in most 100%-biofeed units producing renewable diesel -- and all of the licensed renewable jet fuel production -- in the world today. UOP currently has licensed 20 Ecofining units in nine countries around the world, processing 12 different types of renewable feedstocks.

As per MRC, Honeywell announced a partnership with Princeps for petroleum refining supply chain solutions. Honeywell’s expertise in oil and gas planning will add Princeps’ petroleum solutions platform to its offerings to provide customers with industry-leading insights in determining the most profitable ways to operate their plants.

As MRC reported earlier, in May, 2020, Honeywell announced that Enterprise Products Partners L.P. will use Honeywell UOP’s C3 Oleflex technology in its second propane dehydrogenation plant, called "PDH 2". Located near Mont Belvieu, Texas, PDH 2 will produce 750,000 metric tons per year of polymer-grade propylene as part of Enterprise’s expansion of propylene manufacturing capacity.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 978,870 tonnes in January-October 2020 (calculated using the formula: production minus exports plus imports minus producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply of exclusively of PP random copolymer increased.