Lotte in dilemma over acquisition of Iljin Materials

Lotte in dilemma over acquisition of Iljin Materials

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Group appears to be agonizing over whether to continue pushing ahead with the acquisition of Iljin Materials, due to the seller's rigid stance on the valuation of the nation's second-largest copper foil manufacturer, said Koreantimes.

Iljin Materials' largest shareholder, Huh Jae-myeong, who is also the second-oldest son of Iljin Group Chairman Huh Chin-kyu, reportedly demanded potential buyers to pay at least 3 trillion won (USD2.2 billion) for his 53.3 percent stake in the copper foil producer. In contrast, Lotte Chemical is said to have offered less than 2.5 trillion won.

When Iljin Materials was put up for sale in May, its market cap was around 4.3 trillion won. Its deteriorating sales due to China's zero-COVID policy lockdown measures, and falling copper prices, however, dragged down its market cap below 3.3 trillion won this month.

"Iljin Materials' second-quarter earnings fell short of the market consensus," Samsung Securities analyst Chang Jung-hoon said. "Its revenue from copper foil fell 4 percent from the previous year, due to the falling copper price and decreasing sales in the wake of the global supply chain disruptions."

Amid the skeptical outlook, it has been considered unreasonable for Lotte Chemical to pay 3 trillion won for a 53.3 percent stake in Iljin Materials, even if the buyer takes into account the premium for managerial rights. In addition, Lotte Chemical is the only participant in the main bid to acquire Iljin Materials, as Bain Capital dropped out of the competition due to setbacks in fundraising, according to industry officials.

It also seems difficult for Lotte Chemical to give up on the acquisition, considering Lotte Group's ongoing efforts to focus more on its electric vehicle battery materials business rather than its unprofitable retail business. Earlier this year, Lotte Chemical tried to acquire PI Advanced Materials, the world's leading polyimide film maker, but it lost to Baring Private Equity Asia.

When Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin was given a special presidential pardon earlier this month, the conglomerate expressed its intention to foster the chemical business. "We will contribute to the improvement of Korea's competitiveness by fostering innovative businesses such as biotech, hydrogen energy and battery materials," the group said in a statement.

According to market tracker SNE Research, Iljin Materials ranked fourth last year in the global copper foil market share, following Korea's SKC, China's Watson and Taiwan's Chang Chun. If Lotte Chemical makes large-scale investments after its acquisition of Iljin Materials, the Korean firm may overcome its Chinese and Taiwanese rivals.

"Once the buyer of the 53.3 percent stake is selected by early next month, Iljin Materials is expected to unveil its plans for additional investments in North America and Spain," NH Investment & Securities analyst Ju Min-woo said.

During a press conference in May, Lotte Chemical said it would invest 4 trillion won in battery materials by 2030.

We remind, Lotte Chemical Corp will invest 10 trillion won (USD7.8 billion) to expand its hydrogen and battery materials businesses through 2030 in a bid to accelerate its decarbonization goals. The Seoul-based petrochemical producer is targeting annual sales of 5 trillion won each in its hydrogen and battery divisions by the end of the decade, it said in a statement. It will spend 6 trillion won on its hydrogen operations and 4 trillion won to boost battery materials output.

LG Chem carbon nanotube plant to become world largest CNT producer

LG Chem carbon nanotube plant to become world largest CNT producer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LG Chem will build its fourth carbon nanotube (CNT)-manufacturing plant in Korea as part of efforts to strengthen its battery materials business, said Koreatimes.

The company said the new plant, which will be built at its Daesan Complex 80 kilometers southwest of Seoul, will become the world's largest single-line CNT manufacturing plant. "The new plant is part of LG Chem's initiative to gain a more competitive edge in the rapidly growing global CNT market focused on electric vehicle (EV) battery materials," the company said, adding that the new plant will have an annual production capacity of 3,200 tons.

LG Chem will start construction of the fourth plant in the first half of 2023 and expects the plant will begin operation in the second half of 2024. With four plants, LG Chem will be able to produce 6,100 tons of CNT annually.

CNT is a next-generation material offering electricity and thermal conductivity equivalent to copper and diamond, while its strength is 100 times that of steel. The material is expected to be increasingly used in batteries, semiconductor wafer trays, automotive components and surface heating elements.

According to LG Chem, the global demand for CNT is forecast to grow to 70,000 tons by 2030, from 5,000 tons in 2021.

Its CNT materials will be supplied as conductive additives to battery makers such as LG Energy Solution, with plans for use to be expanded to a broader range of industries, the company said.

"LG Chem is continuously increasing its sales from newly secured battery customers including LG Energy Solutions and is strongly committed to become a trustworthy world-class CNT supplier for global carmakers," said Noh Kug-lae, head of LG Chem's Petrochemical Business.

"We hope to cement our lead in the conductive additive market based on our competitive edge in self-developed manufacturing capabilities and excellent product quality and moving faster than our competitors."

We remind, LG Chem, a major South Korean producer of petrochemicals, has brought its acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plant to 100% capacity in Yeosu, South Korea. Previously, the plant with a capacity of 900 thousand tons of ABS per year worked at 80-90% in May, at 100% in June and at 90% in July.

BASF launches thermoplastic polyurethane paint protection film from RODIM for improved car paint protection

BASF launches thermoplastic polyurethane paint protection film from RODIM for improved car paint protection

MOSCOW (MRC) -- RODIM, a paint-related product brand of BASF, has launched its new invisible Themoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) Paint Protection Film (PPF) in Asia Pacific, said the company.

It provides multifaceted and long-lasting protection for automotive coatings. Car owners can expect to benefit from extra protection with the RODIM TPU PPF. The product has been proven to offer superior resistance against nature’s elements, such as high temperature and extended exposure to the sun during an accelerated UV test lasting 3,000 hours. RODIM TPU PPF can effectively protect vehicles from from tree sap, bugs, bird droppings, acid rain and more that can leave stains on the surface.

Thanks to the use of TPU, the film features excellent self-healing capbility when there are light scratches or scuffs. It is also highly resistant to yellowing. The material is optically transparent enabling automotive surfaces to be preserved flawlessly for an extended period of time.

"Due to the surging demand from our customers in China, BASF decided to make a new attempt by launching RODIM TPU PPF to broaden our product range and better serve the aftermarket automotive industry," said Terry Su, Director, Business Management, Automotive Refinish Coatings Solutions Greater China, BASF who underlined the strategic significance of PPF to the company.

The product was officially certified by FAW-Volkswagen in May 2022. RODIM TPU PPF is now supplied to nearly 2,000 Audi and Volkswagen distributors throughout China, which has helped to elevate their brand image and improve end-user satisfaction.

RODIM TPU PPF is available in a variety of thicknesses, colors and finishes including gloss or matte. Customized versions are also available to meet personal preferences. Customers can search for "BASF RODIM Invisible PPF" on WeChat to send an inquiry or place orders.

As per MRC, BASF completed a double-digit million euro investment to increase production capacity for Tinopal CBS optical brighteners at its Monthey site. Following phase one of the stepwise capacity increase in 2021, the recent completion of the investment program has now brought significantly increased capacity on stream to meet growing global customer demand.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.

Covestro receives ISCC PLUS certification for its Map Ta Phut production site in Thailand

Covestro receives ISCC PLUS certification for its Map Ta Phut production site in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Map Ta Phut site of Covestro in Thailand recently received ISCC PLUS certification, an internationally recognized system for biomass and bioenergy sustainability certification, said the company.

This means the company can now offer its customers in the ASEAN region large volumes of the high-performance plastic polycarbonate, including compounds and polycarbonate films, produced with alternative raw materials in the same good quality as their fossil-based counterparts.

“We are very pleased that Map Ta Phut is another major Covestro production site to be certified according to ISCC PLUS,” says Timo Slawinski, Managing Director and Head of the site. “With this, we are continuing to drive forward the replacement of fossil raw materials with alternative precursors.” The company received its first shipment of the mass-balanced raw materials phenol and acetone from an Asian supplier in August, producing its first batch of biocircular ISCC PLUS-certified polycarbonate in Map Ta Phut very recently.

The certificate enables Covestro to supply a wide range of mass-balanced products such as Makrolon® RE plastics and Makrofol® films at the cross-segment site, which have a significantly lower carbon footprint than fossil-based products. The first-mentioned plastics are part of the CQ family of circular intelligent solutions from Covestro. With the new CQ concept, the company is highlighting the alternative raw material base in its products, giving a clear indication to customers looking for such products.

In the mass balance approach, for example, bio-based or recycled raw materials are fed in at an early stage of raw material extraction and mathematically assigned to the finished products. This saves fossil raw materials and reduces CO2 emissions, while the quality of the mass-balanced products remains identical compared to purely fossil-based ones. With the drop-in solution, customers can continue to use their proven formulations, equipment, processes and specifications. At the same time, Covestro supports them in meeting their sustainability goals.

In addition to Map Ta Phut, Covestro’s sites in Shanghai, Changhua, Leverkusen, Dormagen, Krefeld-Uerdingen, Antwerp and Filago have already been certified to the ISCC PLUS standard.

We remind, Covestro has now received the internationally recognized ISCC Plus mass balance certification for its Leverkusen and Dormagen sites. Together with the Krefeld-Uerdingen site, which was already certified a year ago, the company can now supply its customers with large product volumes from renewably attributed raw materials from all three Lower Rhine sites in Germany. These are selected polycarbonates, components for polyurethane (PU) rigid and flexible foams, PU coating and adhesive raw materials, thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) and specialty films. They are characterized by equally good quality and properties as their fossil-based counterparts.

U.S. Department of Energy invests USD31 MM to advance carbon capture and storage for natural gas power and industrial sectors

U.S. Department of Energy invests USD31 MM to advance carbon capture and storage for natural gas power and industrial sectors

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. Department of Energy invests USD31 MM to advance carbon capture and storage for natural gas power and industrial sectors, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management announced more than USD31 MM in funding for 10 projects to develop carbon capture technologies capable of capturing at least 95 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated from natural gas power plants, waste-to-energy power plants, and industrial applications, including cement and steel. Deploying these technologies in the power and industrial sectors at commercial scale is needed to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, and a net-zero greenhouse gas economy by 2050.

“Carbon capture technology plays an enormously important role in helping to achieve the deep carbon reductions we need as our energy and industrial sectors transition to net-zero emissions,” said Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “Today’s investment will support the technological advancement and cost reductions required for widescale deployment."

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the 10 selected projects. The projects will support development and testing of transformational carbon capture materials, equipment, and processes for applications in natural gas combined cycle (NGCC), waste-to-energy power generation and the industrial sector. Other projects will perform front-end engineering design studies for industrial plants and NGCC power plants integrated with carbon capture systems.

Along with selections announced in October 2021, FECM has invested a total of $76 MM in 22 research and development, front-end engineering design, and engineering-scale projects at natural gas power, waste-to-energy, and industrial facilities as part of DOE’s overall efforts to decarbonize our existing infrastructure to help achieve the Biden Administration’s climate goals.

FECM funds research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects to decarbonize power generation and industrial production, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and mitigate the environmental impacts of fossil fuel production and use. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM website, sign up for FECM news announcements and visit the NETL website.

We remind, U.S. refiners have boosted oil product exports this month as domestic crude oil production rose and global fuel demand continued to recover. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, in a letter sent Aug. 18, urged seven refiners including Valero, ExxonMobil and Chevron, to build supplies of fuels as the United States enters peak hurricane season.