Arkema to acquire adhesives company Permoseal in a move to strengthen its footprint in South Africa

Arkema to acquire adhesives company Permoseal in a move to strengthen its footprint in South Africa

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema announces the proposed acquisition of Permoseal in South Africa, one of the leaders in adhesive solutions for woodworking, packaging, construction and DIY, as per the company's press release.

Its well-known brands, including Alcolin, and its extensive range of high-performance adhesive solutions will complement Bostik’s offering in the region, strengthening their positions in South Africa’s and Sub-Saharan Africa’s dynamic industrial, construction and DIY markets.

Permoseal offers a large portfolio of technical and sustainable solutions for packaging, as well as for wall and floor preparation, renovation and waterproofing. Leveraging its well-known brands, Permoseal has a strong presence in South Africa’s retail chains, and is the exclusive distributor of the Bostik® and Evo-Stik brands in the region. The company, with sales estimated at EUR44 million in 2021, operates two production plants in the country.

With this proposed acquisition, Bostik will significantly strengthen its presence in South Africa in the DIY adhesives sector, in which the Bostik and Den Braven brands are already well established. The complementarity of product portfolios will allow Bostik to broaden its customer offering in the South African construction market, and continue its expansion in the region, benefiting in particular from strongly growing demand in the building renovation market. The project will also enable Bostik to consolidate its position in packaging adhesives, and expand its offering of sustainable solutions for the industrial sector in the South African market.

This bolt-on acquisition is in line with the strategy to grow the Group’s Adhesive Solutions segment and offers many development synergies.

This project, which is subject to approval by antitrust authorities, should be finalized in second-quarter 2022.

As MRC reported before, with the planned acquisition of Agiplast, a leader in the regeneration of high performance polymers, in particular specialty polyamides and fluoropolymers, Arkema will be able to offer a full service to customers in terms of materials circularity, addressing growing market expectations in this field. This project, which contributes to the sustainable development of the polymer industry, is perfectly in line with Arkema’s sustainable growth strategy.

We remind that Arkema is further increasing its fluoropolymer production capacities in Changshu, China, by 35% in 2022. The increase in capacity is scheduled to come on stream before the end of 2022. Financial and overall capacity details of the expansion project were not disclosed.

Arkema is one of the world's leading chemical manufacturers headquartered in Colombes (near Paris, France). Founded in 2004 as a result of the restructuring of the French oil company Total, Arkema, with a turnover of EUR6.5 billion, has operations in 40 countries, 10 research centers around the world, and 85 plants in Europe, North America and Asia.

Lawsuit filed in US District Court in Houston seeking to block Shell refinery sale to Pemex

Lawsuit filed in US District Court in Houston seeking to block Shell refinery sale to Pemex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A pair of New York businessmen filed a lawsuit in a US court seeking to block Mexico's state oil company Pemex from taking control of a Texas refinery, claiming the sale would raise US gasoline prices, reported Reuters.

Royal Dutch Shell in May agreed to sell its majority stake in the 302,800 bpd Deer Park refinery outside Houston to Pemex, its long-time partner in the plant, for about USD596 MM.

The lawsuit, filed in a US District Court in Houston last week, alleges a sale would lead to "substantially less(en) competition" in gasoline and "significantly increase" the plaintiffs' energy costs. They asked the court to block the sale permanently or force Pemex to divest its holdings.

The deal has been delayed by an ongoing review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), a national security group that can block or set restrictions on foreign purchases of US businesses. The CFIUS launched a second 45-day review that halted Pemex's plans to complete the sale this year.

Pemex did not respond to requests for comment. Spokespeople for Shell, the CFIUS and US Treasury Department declined to comment.

Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said the deal would move Mexico closer to energy self-sufficiency. He has promised to replace fuel imports by producing more domestically. Mexico this year imported about 60% of its motor fuel needs.

Lopez Obrador has complained that the 28-year-old JV with Shell had not been good for Mexico as dividends have been not been repatriated.

Aaron Hagele and Andrew Sarcinella, owners of a Mt. Vernon, N.Y., coin-operated laundromat who filed the lawsuit, said their business would suffer "an incalculable but evident" effect if more of Deer Park's output is exported.

As MRC informed previously, Royal Dutch Shell plc. said in November that its petrochemical complex of several billion dollars in Western Pennsylvania is about 70% complete and in the process to enter service in the early 2020s. The plant's costs are estimated to be USD6-USD10 billion, where ethane will be transformed into plastic feedstock. The facility is equipped to produce 1.5 million metric tons per year (mmty) of ethylene and 1.6 mmty of polyethylene (PE), two important constituents of plastics.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,047,100 tonnes in the first ten months of 2021, up by 17% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,226,530 tonnes in January-October 2021, up by 26% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding stat-copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) decreased significantly.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

North American plastics machinery shipments up in third quarter over last year

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The shipments of plastics injection molding and extrusion machinery in North America increased in the third quarter of 2021, according to a new report from the Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES) of the Plastics Industry Association, said Canplastics.

According to CES, the preliminary estimate of shipment value from reporting companies totaled US$333.8 million for July through September, which is an increase of 8.8 per cent compared to the same quarter of 2020, and up four per cent over the second quarter of 2021.

The value of shipments of twin-screw extruders rose significantly by 44.4 per cent in the third quarter, CES said, and was 61.2 per cent above the third quarter last year. “In the third quarter, shipments of single-screw extruders rose by 7.2 per cent from the previous quarter and 15.9 per cent from the third quarter last year,” CES said. “Injection molding shipments edged up 1.6 per cent from the second quarter and 5.7 per cent from a year earlier."

"Plastics equipment shipments picked up in the third quarter as the economy continued to emerge from the pandemic,” said Perc Pineda, Ph.D. the chief economist of the Washington, D.C.-based Plastics Industry Association. “Moreover, the increase in shipments was consistent with higher plastics production, which in the third quarter rose 4.2 per cent or 5.9 per cent from a year earlier. The upward-sloping demand for plastics equipment has not changed."

Plastics machinery exports increased by 6.1 per cent to US$390.2 million from the second quarter, meanwhile, with Mexico and Canada remaining the top export markets of plastics machinery from the U.S. The combined exports to USMCA partners in the third quarter totaled USD172.6 million, CES said, which was 44.2 per cent of total plastics machinery exports. Imports fell by 3.0 per cent to USD848.4 million, resulting in a USD458.3 million trade deficit. “The U.S. plastics machinery trade deficit decreased by 9.6 per cent in the third quarter,” CES said. “U.S. trade data in the third quarter are in sync with the improving global trade outlook."

The World Trade Organization now expects a 10.8 per cent increase in global merchandise trade this year, CES said, which is an upward revision from its 8.4 per cent projection in March. The CES also conducts a quarterly survey of plastics machinery suppliers that asks about present market conditions and expectations for the future. In the third quarter survey, 75.5 per cent of respondents expect market conditions to either improve or hold steady in the coming quarter – lower than the 92.7 per cent of respondents who expressed the same view in the second quarter’s survey. “As for the next 12 months, 75.0 per cent expect market conditions to be steady-to-better,” CES said. “This is lower than the 78.7 per cent of respondents in the previous quarter’s survey who were expecting growth in the next 12 months."

"While the survey results show that growth expectations have moderated, it also reveals that plastics machinery suppliers remain optimistic about market conditions four quarters ahead,” Pineda said.

As per MRC, North American chemical railcar traffic rose by 3.3% year on year for the week ended 11 December, led by an 8.3% increase in the US that more than offset a decline in Canada, said Seanews, citing the data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR). North American rail volume for the week ending November 27 on 12 reporting US, Canadian and Mexican railways totalled 295,807 carloads, down 4.4 per cent together with 281,953 intermodal units, a fall of 16.1 per cent year on year, according to the Association of American Railroads (R).

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.

Crude oil prices rise over 3% on Tuesday, but market wary of Omicron

Crude oil prices rise over 3% on Tuesday, but market wary of Omicron

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices settled more than 3% higher on Tuesday, rebounding on renewed risk appetite the day after a sharp fall, but investors remained cautious as the Omicron coronavirus variant cut holiday travel plans, dimming the near-term fuel demand outlook, reported Reuters.

“This is a pragmatic market that wants to be bullish but knows relief rallies, like the one this morning, will not last,” said Tamas Varga, oil analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

“The upside is likely to be limited and more restrictions will be greeted with renewed selling,” he added.

Brent crude settled up USD2.46, or 3.4%, at USD73.98 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose USD2.51, or 3.7%, to USD71.12 a barrel.

Countries across Europe were considering new curbs on movement as the fast-moving Omicron variant swept the world days before Christmas, throwing travel plans into chaos and unnerving financial markets.

“Measures are likely to be temporary thanks to the rapid rollout of boosters in many countries, not to mention the number of people that will contract it if it continues to spread at the rate it has,” said Craig Erlam, senior analyst at OANDA.

Omicron infections are multiplying rapidly across Europe, the United States and Asia.

Still, Moderna Inc stirred hope on Monday when it said a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine appeared to protect against the Omicron variant in laboratory testing.

On the supply front, OPEC+ compliance with oil production cuts rose to 117% in November from 116% a month earlier, two sources from the group told Reuters, indicating production levels remain well below agreed targets.

US crcrude oil inventories were expected to have fallen for a fourth consecutive week, while distillate and gasoline stockpiles likely rose, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

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.

Hexion to add epichlorohydrin capacity at Pernis

Hexion to add epichlorohydrin capacity at Pernis

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hexion plans to add 25,000 tonnes/year of epichlorohydrin (ECH) capacity at its Pernis site in the Netherlands, said the company.

The expansion, due to start up in late 2024, would utilise bio-based renewable feedstocks by leveraging glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin (GTE) production technology, supporting the reduction in overall energy intensity of ECH production at Pernis. The expected investment sum was not disclosed.

"This expansion will enable us to efficiently serve our customers as they grow and also positions the epoxy business to be further aligned with the longer-term sustainability trends going forward," said Ann Frederix, senior vice president, Coatings and Composites.

As per MRC, Hexion Holdings Corporation has announced that as a result of its ongoing strategic review it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its epoxy-based Coatings and Composite businesses, which includes the epoxy speciality resins and base epoxy resins and intermediates product lines (together, the “Epoxy Business”) for approximately US1.2bn to Westlake Chemical Corporation.

As MRC reported before, earlier this year, Hexion Inc., a major American manufacturer of phenol and bisphenol A (BPA), has recently announced that in order to help address climate change, it has committed to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 20% by 2030.

Hexion Inc., formerly Momentive Specialty Chemicals Inc., is a chemical company based in Columbus, Ohio. It manufactures thermosetting resins and related technologies and specialty products. Hexion has two divisions: the epoxy, phenolic and coating resins division and the forest products division.