Thailand to extend cap on diesel prices to help consumers

Thailand to extend cap on diesel prices to help consumers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thailand will extend its diesel price cap of 30 baht (USD0.8987) per liter beyond this month, its deputy prime minister said on Wednesday, as global oil prices put a strain on consumers and an economy struggling from the pandemic, reported Reuters.

The support will be financed by the country's oil fund and a loan, Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who is also energy minister, told a news conference.

He did not provide a timeframe for how long the price cap, which was due to end this month, would be in place.

However, the current oil fund of about 9 B baht (USD269.5 MM) and a loan of 20 B baht should support the price freeze for four to five months, if global oil prices stay at USD87.5 per barrel, Supattanapong said.

"By that time, we expect oil prices to gradually fall due to a warmer climate," he said.

If the funds are still insufficient, however, the energy ministry will work with the finance ministry on other measures, including a possible excise tax cut, Supattanapong said.

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) is in plans to undertake a brief shutdown for maintenance at its low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in October. However, the exact dates of the turnaround were not given. Located at Map Ta Phut in Thailand, the LDPE plant has a production capacity of 345,000 mt/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, July estimated LDPE consumption in Russia grew to 52,280 tonnes from 45,190 tonnes a month earlier. Russian producers raised their PE output, imports also increased. Russia's estimated LDPE consumption was about 332,840 tonnes in the first seven months of 2021, up by only 1% year on year. PE production and exports decreased, whereas imports increased.

Perstorp appoints Patrice Pinsard as new EVP Strategic Markets & Innovation

Perstorp appoints Patrice Pinsard as new EVP Strategic Markets & Innovation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Perstorp announced that Patrice Pinsard has been appointed EVP strategic markets & innovation as of Oct. 18, 2021, where he will drive value creation and growth focusing on Perstorp’s portfolio of specialty chemicals, said Coatingsworld.

Pinsard is an experienced executive with a long track record in the chemicals industry. He has held senior positions in companies such as Rhodia and Cognis and, most recently as global EVP coatings, Industrial Solutions & Amines at Solvay.

"We are excited to have such an experienced professional as Patrice joining us at this stage in our transformation,”said Jan Secher, Perstorp president & CEO. “His appointment fits perfectly with our strategy of focusing more on selective segments and the specialty part of our portfolio. Patrice has proven more than once that he knows what it takes and with his strong result orientation and track record I am convinced this will be a win-win, for us and him."

In the first quarter of 2021, Perstorp redefined its business strategy to become a leading sustainable solutions provider, focusing on the global Resins & Coatings, Engineered Fluids and Animal Nutrition markets.

As per MRC, Perstorp 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.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,396,960 tonnes in January-July 2021, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 841,990 tonnes in the first seven months of 2021, up by 29% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) subsided.

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.

Neste and Ravago plan to build a facility for chemical recycling

Neste and Ravago plan to build a facility for chemical recycling

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Neste and Ravago aim to establish a joint venture to build an industrial facility for chemical recycling in North Sea Port in Vlissingen, the Netherlands, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The facility is intended to be the starting point of joint global chemical recycling (often also called “advanced recycling”) activities, built upon the advancement of the thermochemical liquefaction technology of US-based Alterra Energy, an innovative chemical recycling technology company.

With this, Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel, and drop-in renewable feedstocks and solutions for the polymers & chemicals industry, and Ravago, the world’s leading distributor and recycler of polymers, plan to demonstrate and advance the commercialization of chemical recycling. The transaction is awaiting for and subject to regulatory approval.

This strategic partnership combines Ravago’s expertise in the mechanical preparation of plastic waste, Alterra Energy’s proprietary liquefaction technology, and Neste’s expertise in the processing of hydrocarbons. Neste and Ravago are aiming for the first industrial chemical recycling site in North Sea Port in Vlissingen with an annual processing capacity of about 55,000 tons of mixed plastic waste, corresponding to the plastic packaging waste generated by some 1.7 MM average EU citizens per yr. The long-term aspiration of the partners is to significantly increase the processing capacity on a global scale and continuously develop the joint venture into a global leader for chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste.

This targeted investment is the consistent continuation of the fast-paced progress in the cooperation between the partners. In 2019, Neste and Ravago set a joint target to reach the capacity to process over 200,000 tons of mixed waste plastic per yr by 2030. Ever since, the companies have evaluated technologies, the raw material market, and built joint business cases to develop chemical recycling capacities. Already in 2020, Neste also successfully conducted the first of several industrial trial runs with liquefied waste plastic at its oil refinery in Finland.

As MRC reported earlier, in July, 2021, Finnish Neste and LyondellBasell announced a long-term commercial agreement under which LyondellBasell will source Neste RE, a feedstock from Neste that has been produced from 100% renewable feedstock from bio-based sources, such as waste and residue oils and fats. This feedstock will be processed through the cracker at LyondellBasell’s Wesseling, Germany, plant into polymers and sold under the CirculenRenew brand name.

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 1,638,370 tonnes in the first eight months of 2021, up by 10% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 989,570 tonnes in the first eight months of 2021, up by 30% year on year. Deliveries of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas shipments of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

Neste (Helsinki) creates solutions for combating climate change and accelerating a shift to a circular economy. The company refines waste, residues and innovative raw materials into renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for plastics and other materials. The company is the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, developing chemical recycling to combat the plastic waste challenge. In 2020, Neste's revenue stood at EUR11.8 billion, with 94% of the company’s comparable operating profit coming from renewable products.

Stepan reported third-quarter net income of USD36.9

Stepan reported third-quarter net income of USD36.9

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Stepan’s Q3 sales rose 30% year on year while gross profit and operating income fell as cost of sales jumped 39% because of the ongoing supply chain disruptions, said the company.

The Northfield, Illinois-based company said it had profit of USD1.59 per share. Earnings, adjusted for pretax gains, came to USD1.57 per share. The average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of USD1.39 per share.

The specialty chemicals company posted revenue of USD602.7 million in the period, which also topped Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected USD544.6 million.

Looking at Q4 and beyond, Stepan believes that its Surfactant volumes in the North American consumer product end markets will continue to be challenged by raw material and transportation availability, said CEO F Quinn Stepan. While Stepan believes industrial and institutional cleaning volume will grow versus prior year in Q4, it does not believe that this will compensate for lower consumer consumption of cleaning, disinfection and personal wash products, he said.

However, demand for surfactants within the agricultural and oilfield markets is expected to exceed prior year demand, the CEO said. Meanwhile, Stepan’s Polymer business is expected to grow, due to the ongoing recovery from pandemic-related delays and cancellations of re-roofing and new construction projects and the INVISTA acquisition.

"We continue to believe the long-term prospects for rigid polyols remain attractive as energy conservation efforts and more stringent building codes are expected to continue," Stepan said. Stepan’s Specialty Product business results will improve slightly year-on-year in Q4. "Despite supply chain disruptions continuing to impact the company, we remain optimistic about delivering full year earnings growth," the CEO added. In related news, Stepan earlier on Wednesday announced plans to build a new alkoxylation plant at Pasadena, Texas.

As MRC informed before, Stepan conducted planned maintenance at its 90,000 tonnes/year phthalic anhydride (PA) plant Millsdale, Illinois, US, from early October to end-October, 2020.

Phthalic anhydride is widely used in for the production of paints and varnishes and plasticizers for PVC products. In a small amount it is used in the manufacture of rubber products, tires. In addition, it is used in the light, pharmaceutical and electrical industries.

According to MRC's DatasScope report, last month's SPVC imports to the Ukrainian market decreased to 2,300 tonnes from 2,700 tonnes in August, Ukrainian companies reduced their shipments of polymer from the USA. Overall SPVC imports reached 20,800 tonnes in January-September 2021, compared to 26,800 tonnes a year earlier. Limited export quotas of European and North American producers were the main reason for such a major fall in imports.


AkzoNobel sees costs inflation peaking this quarter as it posts weaker earnings

AkzoNobel sees costs inflation peaking this quarter as it posts weaker earnings

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel's net income fell by 25.5% year on year to EUR164m in the third quarter following drop in operating profit due to significant raw material cost hikes, said the Dutch paints and coatings firm.

Dutch paints and coatings maker Akzo Nobel warned on Wednesday that raw material costs inflation could peak in the fourth quarter before stabilising next year as it reported weaker-than-expected quarterly core earnings. “We expect the raw material situation in 2022 to be less hectic,” Chief Executive Thierry Vanlancker said in a call with analysts, adding that inflation will still be at the forefront in the first half of the year.

“Hopefully we will get a little bit more breathing room, but we’re not betting on that, and our whole pricing plan and our whole market plan is based on the current situation,” Vanlancker said. The rebound in economic activity as coronavirus restrictions are eased has exposed shortages across supply chains, with companies scrambling to find workers, ships and even fuel to power factories, threatening the recovery and keeping central bankers on high alert over inflation and its impact on rate decisions.

Chemical makers such as Akzo Nobel, Axalta Coating Systems , PPG Industries and Tikkurila have all been hit by rising raw material costs due to strong demand and supply chain issues this year. In an earlier call with journalists, Vanlacker flagged that raw material costs have escalated quite significantly and are impacting its long-term supplier contracts.

“Most raw material suppliers go for monthly and sometimes bi-weekly (contracts) because they are very uncertain about our own pricing,” Vanlancker said. The Amsterdam-based firm, which sells decorative paints and industrial coatings worldwide, raised its prices by 9% in the July-September period compared to fight the costs.

It also said raw material and other variable costs in the quarter increased by 278 million euros (USD324 million) year-on-year. The shares in the company fell 1.65% at 0938 GMT, the analysts flagging pressure from earnings miss and inflation comments.

The Dulux paint maker said it was still confident of achieving its 2 billion euro earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) target for 2023, and the annual 50 basis points increase in return on sales over the 2021-2023 period.

Akzo Nobel posted third-quarter adjusted operating income of 241 million euros, with sales improving 6% to 2.41 billion euros, but both missing analysts’ forecasts.

As per MRC, AkzoNobel N.V. no longer intends to acquire Tikkurila following a higher competing offer from US paints and coatings producer PPG Industries.

Akzo Nobel submitted a binding proposal to acquire Tikkurila for EUR31.25 per share on January 28, 2021, having conducted customary due diligence to confirm potential synergies. The company no longer intends to pursue this acquisition, following a competing, higher, offer for Tikkurila. Despite a strong cultural fit - and more synergies than any other combination with Tikkurila - the intended transaction no longer meets AkzoNobel’s criteria for superior value creation.