Trinseo raises August MMA prices in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber, and its affiliate companies in Europe, have announced a price increase for Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) in Europe, according to the company's press release as of August 3.

Effective August 1, 2021, or as existing contract terms allow, the company's price for MMA monomer grew by EUR300/tonne.

The company also raised its July MMA prices in the region by the same amount.

As MRC reported earlier, in May, 2021, Trinseo announced the closing of the previously announced transaction to acquire Arkema’s polymethyl methacrylates (PMMA) business. PMMA is a transparent and rigid resin with a wide range of end uses that augments Trinseo’s existing offerings across several end markets including automotive, building and construction, medical and consumer electronics.

The main application, consuming approximately 75% MMA, is in the production of polymethyl methacrylate acrylic plastics (PMMA). Methyl methacrylate is also used to produce methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene copolymer (MBS), used as a modifier for polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, negotiations over August contract prices of Russian PVC in the domestic market continued through the week; some producers further raised their prices. Some converters hesitated to confirm the new prices for Russian PVC.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo's technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD3.0 billion in net sales in 2020, with 17 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,600 employees.

Evonik posts strong earnings for H1 2021 and raises outlook for 2021

Evonik posts strong earnings for H1 2021 and raises outlook for 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik has raised its outlook for 2021 after posting strong earnings in the first half. Demand for Evonik products increased significantly worldwide with sales prices also rising, as per the company's press release.

"We have emerged out of the crisis stronger than before and have made substantial gains in the first half," said Christian Kullmann, chairman of the board of management. "This positive dynamic will continue into the second half. Therefore, we are confident about raising our outlook. From today’s perspective we will even end up in the upper part of the range.”

For 2021 Evonik now expects adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (adjusted EBITDA) of between EUR2.3 billion and EUR2.4 billion for the full year. Previously the range was EUR2.1 billion to EUR2.3 billion. The outlook for sales is now EUR13 billion to EUR14.5 billion, up from a previously expected EUR12 billion to EUR14 billion. Last year Evonik posted adjusted EBITDA of EUR1.91 billion and sales of EUR12.2 billion.

In the second quarter, adjusted EBITDA rose 42% to EUR649 million compared with the prior-year quarter. Even compared with the pre-corona second quarter of 2019, adjusted EBITDA gained, growing 15%. The main drivers were all three growth divisions - Specialty Additives, Nutrition & Care and Smart Materials, which demonstrated their resilience despite higher raw-material costs.

Sales at the company gained 29% to EUR3.64 billion in the second quarter compared with the same quarter in 2020. Adjusted net income increased 58 percent to EUR253 million with adjusted earnings per share rising from EUR0.34 to EUR0.54.

As a result of the improved business performance, free cash flow increased year-on-year to USD101 million, despite the expected increase in net working capital and higher tax payments. As a result, free cash flow reached a record level of USD413 million in the first half of the year.

Specialty Additives: The division's sales rose 23 percent to EUR922 million in the second quarter. Additives for polyurethane foams, for example for the construction industry or durable goods such as mattresses and refrigerators, saw significantly higher demand with sales rising strongly compared to the corona-related weaker quarter last year. Additives for the coatings industry also recorded significant sales growth in all regions. Good demand for renewable energy products continued. The business with additives for the automotive industry also increased significantly year-on-year. Adjusted EBITDA increased by 20 percent to EUR242 million.

Smart Materials: The division's sales improved by 35% to EUR975 million in the second quarter. High-performance polymers saw a significant increase in demand from the auto industry. Polyamide 12 powders for 3D printing and membranes for efficient gas treatment were also in high demand. The tire silica business benefited from a strong upturn in demand compared to the corona-related weaker quarter last year. Active oxygen products recorded good volume demand both in the specialty business and in the classic hydrogen peroxide business. The catalysts business benefited from the first-time inclusion of Porocel, which was acquired in November 2020. Adjusted EBITDA rose 73 percent to EUR176 million at the division.

Performance Materials: The division's sales rose by 62 percent to EUR708 million in the second quarter. Sales of C4 products increased significantly with increasing demand and strongly improved selling prices. The superabsorbent business continues to be affected by a difficult market environment. Adjusted EBITDA rose from EUR12 million to EUR99 million in the quarter.

As MRC informed earlier, in February, 2020, Dow and Evonik entered into an exclusive technology partnership. Together, they plan to bring a unique method for directly synthesizing propylene glycol (PG) from propylene and hydrogen peroxide to market maturity.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 607,8900 tonnes in January-May 2021, up by 33% year on year. Shipments of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas deliveries of PP random copolymers decreased.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The focus on more specialty businesses, customer-oriented innovative prowess and a trustful and performance-oriented corporate culture form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. They are the lever for profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company. Evonik benefits specifically from its customer proximity and leading market positions. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world with more than 33,000 employees.

BASF and Sinopec to further expand their Verbund site in Nanjing

BASF and Sinopec to further expand their Verbund site in Nanjing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF and SINOPEC, the world's petrochemical majors, will further expand their Verbund site operated by BASF-YPC Co., Ltd. (BASF-YPC), a 50-50 joint venture of both companies in Nanjing, China, according to BASF's press release.

It includes the capacity expansion of several downstream chemical plants, including a new tert-butyl acrylate plant to support the growing Chinese market.

The partners will expand the production capacities of propionic acid, propionic aldehyde, ethyleneamines, ethanolamines and purified ethylene oxide, and build a new tert-butyl acrylate plant. The tert-butyl acrylate plant will be an extension to the downstream using acrylic acid and isobutene of the existing Verbund as feedstock, which marks the first time this advanced production technology is applied outside of Germany. The expanded and new plants are planned to come on stream in 2023.

“This is a substantial step forward since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2018 to further strengthen our long-term partnership with SINOPEC,” said Dr. Stephan Kothrade, President and Chairman of BASF Greater China. “With the envisioned investment bundle, we will introduce state-of-the-art technologies and use the Verbund advantages to the fullest.”

Propionic acid (PA) is used as a mold inhibitor for the preservation of food and feed grains. It offers strong economic and ecological benefits over preservation through drying or storage in air-tight silos. It is also used in the production of pharmaceuticals, crop protection agents, solvents and thermoplastics.

Ethyleneamines (EEA) and Ethanolamines (EOA) are intermediates used in the manufacture of crop protection agents, surfactants for personal and home care products, process chemicals for gas treatment, lubricants and cement additives, paper chemicals, and active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Propionic aldehyde (PALD) is an intermediate used as key raw material for propionic acid and n-propanol production. It is mainly used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, insecticides, fragrances and plastics.

Tert-butyl acrylate (TBA) is an acrylic acid ester for manufacturing polymers and is used as a feedstock for syntheses. As a specialty chemical it is used in paper sizing and emulsion applications.

Purified ethylene oxide (PEO) is a raw material for industrial applications and is often used in synthesis processes of chemical industry. It is used in the manufacturing of ethanolamines, glycol ethers and surfactants for washing and cleaning agents.

As MRC wrote before, in September 2020, BASF-YPC Co., Ltd. (BYC), a 50-50 joint venture between BASF and SINOPEC, expanded the production capacity of neopentylglycol (NPG) at the state-of-the-art Verbund site in Nanjing, China. The plant was established in 2015 with an annual capacity of 40,000 metric tons. With the completion of the expansion in August 2020, the annual capacity reached 80,000 metric tons.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 607,8900 tonnes in January-May 2021, up by 33% year on year. Shipments of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas deliveries of PP random copolymers decreased.

BASF-YPC Company Limited (BASF-YPC) is a 50-50 joint venture between BASF and Sinopec, founded in 2000, with a total investment of approximately USD5.5 billion. The integrated petrochemical site produces about three million tons of high-quality chemicals and polymers for the Chinese market annually. The products serve the rapid-growing demand in multiple industries, including agriculture, construction, electronics, pharmaceutical, hygiene, automotive and chemical manufacturing. All BASF-YPC plants are interconnected in order to use products, by-products and energy in the most efficient way, to save cost and to minimize the environmental impact. BASF-YPC posted sales of approximately CNY 19.6 billion in 2019 and employed 1,942 people as of the end of the year.

China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) is a super-large petroleum and petrochemical enterprise group established in July 1998 on the basis of the former China Petrochemical Corporation. Sinopec Group's key business activities include the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, petrochemicals and other chemical products, oil refining.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 06.08.2021

1. OxyChem sees continued strong demand for PVC and caustic soda in H2 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Occidental Petroleum sees continued strong demand for construction staple polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and caustic soda through the rest of 2021, driven largely by tight supply, homebuilding growth and continued global economic recovery from COVID-19 fallout, reported S&P Global with reference to CFO Robert Peterson's statement Aug. 4. Peterson said the company sees domestic PVC demand up 16% from Q2 2020, and up 13% from pre-pandemic 2019, he said during the company's Q2 2021 earnings call.


Crude oil futures steady in Asia as pandemic concerns in key oil-consuming economies remain at the forefront

Crude oil futures steady in Asia as pandemic concerns in key oil-consuming economies remain at the forefront

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were steady during mid-morning trade in Asia Aug. 6, as the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus in key oil-consuming economies continued to limit the market's upside and as participants await the upcoming US nonfarm payrolls data to gauge the country's economic conditions, reported S&P Global.

At 11:32 am Singapore time (0332 GMT), the ICE October Brent futures contract was up 14 cents/b (0.2%) from the previous close at USD71.48/b, while the NYMEX September light sweet crude contract rose 12 cents/b (0.17%) at USD69.21/b.

The front month Brent and NYMEX light sweet crude markers had settled 1.29% and 1.38% higher on Aug. 5, rising in tandem with the broader financial markets on risk-on sentiment following the release of a positive weekly unemployment claims report from the US Labor Department.

The oil rally, however, fizzled during this morning's Asian trading session, as investors remained concerned over the economic fallout from the region's battle against the pandemic.

The market has been especially anxious over the situation in China, where previously successful efforts to contain the pandemic had been thwarted by the spread of the more transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus.

"Oil has been under pressure this week as moves to reinstate travel restrictions in China reflected the situation across Asia. At least 46 cities have advised against travelling, and authorities have suspended flights and stopped public transport," ANZ analysts said in an Aug. 6 note.

Nervousness over the surge in the delta-driven COVID-19 infection numbers in the west, including in the US and major European economies, has also put a cap on oil prices.

The market nevertheless remains optimistic that oil demand in the US, and in the west, will defy the rise in COVID-19 cases, as higher vaccination rates may preclude the need for lockdown measures.

We remind that as MRC informed earlier, Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude oil exporter, will supply full contractual volumes of August-loading crude to at least five Asian customers. However, Saudi Aramco has turned down two of the buyers' requests for extra barrels.

We also remind that Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), said in June he expects the company's deal with Saudi Aramco to materialise this year. Meanwhile, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of Saudi Aramco and the Governor of the Public Investment Fund, joined the board of Reliance as an independent director.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 953,400 tonnes in the first five months of 2021, which virtually corresponded to the same figure a year earlier. High density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments decreased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 607,8900 tonnes in January-May 2021, up by 33% year on year. Shipments of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas deliveries of PP random copolymers decreased.