Trinseo closes sale of synthetic rubber business to Synthos

Trinseo closes sale of synthetic rubber business to Synthos

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics and latex binders, has announced the closing of the previously announced transaction to sell its synthetic rubber business based in Schkopau, Germany to Synthos S.A. and its affiliates, as per the company's press release.

The sale was made for an enterprise value of approximately USD491 million, comprised of a cash purchase price of USD402.4 million, the assumption of approximately USD41.6 million of pension liabilities by Synthos, and net working capital (excluding inventory) retained by Trinseo of USD47.0 million.

In October, Trinseo and Synthos entered into an amendment to the original purchase agreement to reduce the cash purchase price from USD449.4 million to USD402.4 million in exchange for an equivalent amount (USD47.0 million) of net working capital to be collected by Trinseo. Following Trinseo’s collection of the net working capital, the expected net cash proceeds are approximately USD400 million after transaction-related costs and taxes.

The Business includes approximately 440 employees, mostly located in Schkopau, Germany. The transaction also includes the transfer of the associated Schkopau-based manufacturing and research and development facilities, as well as related intellectual property.

Trinseo’s sale of Synthetic Rubber to Synthos is another step forward in a series of strategic actions, including the recent acquisitions of Arkema's PMMA business in May 2021 and Aristech Surfaces LLC in September 2021, as well as the planned divestiture of its styrenics businesses, for which a formal sales process is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2022. These steps are part of the company’s transformation into a higher growth, higher margin and less cyclical specialty and sustainable materials provider.

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 MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall production of unmixed PVC totalled 828,600 tonnes in the first ten months of 2021, up by 3% year on year. At the same time, only two producers raised their output.

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.

Clariant developing next-gen ammonia cracking catalysts to facilitate future hydrogen transport

Clariant developing next-gen ammonia cracking catalysts to facilitate future hydrogen transport

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant Catalysts’ role in the so-called “green hydrogen revolution” continues to grow. The company is now participating in Germany’s prestigious TransHyDE project AmmoRef, which is tasked to develop process technologies and catalysts for ammonia cracking to facilitate future hydrogen transport, also for large distances, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

With EUR14 MM in funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), AmmoRef is part of the overarching 135-MM-euro TransHyDE project, which aims to revolutionize the nation’s hydrogen transport infrastructure in preparation for a sweeping energy transition. TransHyDE is one of three hydrogen flagship projects aiming to prepare Germany’s entry into a hydrogen economy.

Marvin Estenfelder, Head of R&D at Clariant Catalysts, commented, “We are honored to have joined forces with some of the world’s most talented scientists in supporting Germany’s and the global transformation into a clean hydrogen economy. Clariant has been involved in R&D and cross-industry collaborations in this field for many years, and we have already developed numerous catalysts for use in innovative hydrogen applications. We are confident that together we will make it possible to recover pure hydrogen from ammonia in the scales required for efficient and safe mass transportation of hydrogen.”

Clariant will be collaborating non-exclusively with other prominent partners in academia and industry, amongst others are Prof. Schlogl (Max Planck Institute, Berlin and Muhlheim), Prof. Muhler (Ruhr-University Bochum), Prof. Behrens (University of Kiel), Prof. Lerch (Technical University of Berlin), as well as ThyssenKrupp, and BASF.

Clariant’s role in AmmoRef is to use their knowledge of the chemical reactions and catalytic processes to develop new and improved generations of its existing ammonia cracking catalysts. Furthermore, Clariant provides its benchmark ammonia synthesis catalyst AmoMax 10 Plus, for the synthesis of green ammonia. This project further strengthens Clariant?s position as one of the frontrunners in the ammonia-related new hydrogen economy.

Clariant is also involved in other major projects involving renewable hydrogen value chains. These include the Kopernikus initiative for advancing renewable energy and the Carbon2Chem program to reduce industrial CO2 emissions, both of which are also sponsored by the BMBF. The company offers extensive expertise in hydrogen technologies and a broad portfolio of adsorbents and catalysts for the production, conditioning, and purification of hydrogen and catalysts to convert hydrogen to sustainable chemicals and fuels.

As MRC informed before, Clariant's new AmoMax 10 Plus ammonia synthesis catalyst was successfully started up at the BASF ammonia plant in Antwerp, Belgium. German BASF, the world's petrochemical major and the inventor of the Haber Bosch process, has already installed Clariant's previous catalyst generation, AmoMax 10, at their BASF/Yara joint production plant in Freeport, Texas, USA. Based on the catalyst's highly favorable performance, BASF elected to use a Clariant catalyst again, this time the new AmoMax 10 Plus, which offers an additional boost in activity, stability, and startup speed.

We remind that in October 2020, Clariant announced the construction of a new state-of-the-art catalyst production site in China. This project represents a significant investment which further strengthens Clariant’s position in China and enhances its ability to support its customers in the country’s thriving petrochemicals industry.

The new facility will be primarily responsible for producing the Catofin catalyst for propane dehydrogenation, which is used in the production of olefins such as propylene. Thanks to its excellent reliability and productivity, Catofin delivers superior annual production output compared to alternative technologies, resulting in increased overall profitability for propylene producers, says the company. Construction at the Dushan Port Economic Development Zone in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province was scheduled to commence in Q3 2020, and Clariant expects to be at full production capacity by 2022.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,138,510 tonnes in the first nine months of 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.

ExxonMobil acquires California-based Materia

ExxonMobil acquires California-based Materia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil Chemical has acquired California-based Materia for an undisclosed sum, said the company.

Materia makes thermoset resins based on dicyclopentadiene (DCPD). They are designed to be alternatives to epoxy resins, vinyl ester resins and unsaturated polyester resins (UPR). The materials can be used in a number of applications, including wind turbine blades, electric vehicle parts, sustainable construction, and anticorrosive coatings.

They are based on olefin metathesis catalyst discoveries made by Robert Grubbs and his research team at the California Institute of Technology. Grubbs received the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for these discoveries. “This acquisition ties together Materia’s Nobel Prize-winning technology with ExxonMobil’s complementary proprietary technology and world-class manufacturing capabilities to bring this exciting new class of structural materials to commercial scale,” said Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Chemical.

ExxonMobil has been collaborating with Materia since 2017 on the development of new hydrocarbon-based materials that are stronger, lighter and more durable than existing thermoset products such as epoxy. ExxonMobil intends to operate the acquired business under the Materia company name as a wholly owned affiliate. The acquisition includes Materia’s headquarters and technology centre in Pasadena, California and its manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Texas.

As MRC informed previously, ExxonMobil and SABIC have announced that their joint venture, Gulf Coast Growth Ventures located near Corpus Christi, Texas, has reached mechanical completion of a monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit and two polyethylene (PE) units. Project startup is expected to begin ahead of schedule, likely in the fourth quarter of 2021.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,868,160 tonnes in the first nine months of 2021, up by 18% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,138,510 tonnes in January-September 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) decreased significantly.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

Oil prices grow on easing Omicron coronavirus variant fears and Iranian crude delay

Oil prices grow on easing Omicron coronavirus variant fears and Iranian crude delay

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices rose nearly USD2 on Tuesday, extending the previous day's almost 5% rebound as concerns over the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant on global fuel demand eased and Iran nuclear talks stalled, delaying the return of Iranian crude, reported Reuters.

Brent crude futures were up USD1.67, or 2.3%, at USD75.75 a barrel by 1323 GMT, having registered a 4.6% gain on Monday. US West Texas Intermediate crude was up USD1.90, or 2.7%, at USD71.39, building on a 4.9% gain in the previous session.

Oil prices were pummelled last week by concerns that vaccines might be less effective against the Omicron variant, sparking fears that governments could impose fresh restrictions to curb its spread and hit global growth and oil demand.

However, a South African health official reported over the weekend that Omicron cases there had shown only mild symptoms. Also, the top US infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci, told CNN that "it does not look like there's a great degree of severity" so far.

In another sign of confidence in oil demand, the world's top exporter, Saudi Arabia, raised monthly crude prices on Sunday.

That came after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to continue raising output by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January despite the release of US strategic petroleum reserves.

Crude imports to top importer China also rebounded in November and a Reuters poll showed that US crude inventories are likely to have fallen for a second straight week last week.

Oil prices were also supported by delays to the return of Iranian oil, with indirect nuclear talks between the United States and Iran having hit stumbling blocks. Germany urged Iran on Monday to present realistic proposals in talks over its nuclear programme.

As MRC informed before, US commercial crude stocks fell 3.48 million barrels to 413.96 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 17, to more than 8% below the five-year average, Energy Information Administration data showed. Stocks were last lower Oct. 5, 2018.

We remind that in late August, 2021, US crude stocks dropped sharply while petroleum products supplied by refiners hit an all-time record despite the rise in coronavirus cases nationwide, the Energy Information Administration said. Crude inventories fell by 7.2 million barrels in the week to Aug. 27 to 425.4 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 3.1 million-barrel drop. Product supplied by refineries, a measure of demand, rose to 22.8 million barrels per day in the most recent week. That's a one-week record, and signals strength in consumption for diesel, gasoline and other fuels by consumers and exporters.

We also remind that US crude oil production is expected to fall by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to 11.12 million bpd, EIA said in a monthly report earlier this year, a smaller decline than its previous forecast for a drop of 210,000 bpd.

Saint-Gobain buys U.S.-based GCP to grow in construction chemicals

Saint-Gobain buys U.S.-based GCP to grow in construction chemicals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saint-Gobain has signed an agreement to acquire US-based construction-chemicals producer GCP Applied Technologies for USD2.3bn, said Reuters.

The price comes to USD32/share and represents a multiple of 13.2x of GCP's 2022 estimated adjusted earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), Saint-Gobain said. That 2022 estimate for adjusted EBITDA comes to USD170m.

The stock-price offer of USD32/share represents a 39% premium of the average GCP stock price during November, Saint-Gobain said. The boards of the two companies have unanimously approved the agreement. Saint-Gobain has obtained undertakings from Starboard and Standard Investments to vote in favour of the deal.

Starboard holds an 8.9% stake in GCP and Standard holds a 24.2% stake, Saint-Gobain said. Closing should take place by the end of 2022 and it is contingent on approval from shareholders and anti-trust regulators, Saint-Gobain said. The company expects the deal will create value by the third year after closing. Saint-Gobain said it will finance the acquisition with cash. Synergies should reach USD85m by the fifth year, including cost synergies of USD72m.

Revenue synergies should result in a benefit of at least USD13m in EBITDA, the company said. GCP makes cement additives and concrete admixtures as well as waterproofing and building-envelope products. Saint-Gobain expects such admixtures and additives will play a key role in reducing carbon emissions in the construction industry. GCP's roofing underlayment products and waterproofing portfolio should complement Saint-Gobain's CertainTeed business.

GCP's specialty building materials business will be integrated into Saint-Gobain's CertainTeed business that serves customers in the Americas. GCP's concrete admixtures and cement additives will be combined with Saint-Gobain's Chryso business and be part of the company's High Performance Solutions segment.

As per MRC, Saint-Gobain has invested in Continuous Composites, a US 3D printing company based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. At the same time, the companies signed a joint development agreement for the commercialisation of Continuous Composites' patented Continuous Fiber 3D Printing (CF3D) process. CF3D combines continuous fibre with rapid curing thermostat resins to enable on-demand manufacturing of complex composite structures.

As MRC informed earlier, Saint-Gobain, the world's largest manufacturer of building materials, has opened the third plant in Russia for the production of dry building mixtures in the city of Yegoryevsk, Moscow Region. The total investment in the construction of the plant amounted to more than 500 mln rubles.

Saint-Gobain is an international industrial group of companies headquartered in Paris. At present, the group includes 1.5 thousand companies from 64 countries, and employs about 190 thousand employees. According to the Forbes rating, Saint-Gobain is among the top 100 largest industrial companies in the world. The company operates in four sectors: innovative materials, construction products, glass containers and packaging, distribution of construction materials.