Rohm agrees to acquire Functional Forms business from SABIC

Rohm agrees to acquire Functional Forms business from SABIC

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Rohm, one of the leading manufacturers in the methacrylate business, has agreed to acquire the Functional Forms business of SABIC, subject to customary consultation with the respective works councils and approval of the antitrust authorities, said the company.

Rohm thereby adds Polycarbonate sheets and films to its existing range of PMMA sheets and films, further expanding its leading positions as a value-added partner for its customers across a wide range of applications.

“We are very excited to have found a strong partner with whom we can grow together,” explains Rohm’s CEO Michael Pack. “By adding the Polycarbonate Resin extrusion business to our portfolio, we will sustainably strengthen our competitiveness in our sheets and films business. With the combined competencies – in sales and in the development of materials, products and applications – we will become a better business partner for our customers."

Ronald Ayles, Managing Partner at Advent International, adds: “This is a unique opportunity for Rohm to build a global leader in this attractive segment and we are very happy to be able to back our portfolio company in executing this transformative acquisition”.

The Functional Forms business is a leading global manufacturer offering a broad portfolio of high-quality polycarbonate film and sheet products, predominantly marketed through the strong LEXAN™ brand which is globally recognized as one of the leading brands in its segment. Functional Forms has an extensive global presence with about 700 employees, operations in 19 countries and through various production sites strategically located across all continents.

The new combined business will have sales of more than € 700m, command a strong operational global footprint across 14 production sites and benefit from its complementary activities in similar but distinct markets: both, Rohm and SABIC’s Functional Forms business, manufacture high-quality sheet and film products that are used across a wide variety of industries, ranging from building and construction, consumer electronics, medicine to aviation. The acquisition is a key cornerstone of Rohm’s strategy to develop its transparent semi-finished products business into a leading global multi-polymer company. The strong brand LEXAN™ is an ideal complement to the acrylic glass brand PLEXIGLAS® (in the Americas under the registered trademark ACRYLITE).

Consultation with applicable works councils and unions in Europe is expected to be finalized in the upcoming months. Subject to regulatory approvals, and completion of the carve-out of the business from the rest of SABIC’s operations, the transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2024.

We remind, Roehm has disclosed the successful commissioning of its 20% methyl methacrylate (MMA) capacity expansion project in Shanghai, China. The initiative will support its methacrylates Verbund in Shanghai where the German methacrylates company is boosting capacity of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), sold under the Plexiglas brand. The new Meracryl MMA capacity will back the fast growth in Asia and improv supply dependability of bulk monomer.

AES, Air Products plan $4bn green hydrogen hub in Texas

AES, Air Products plan $4bn green hydrogen hub in Texas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Air Products and AES Corporation have agreed to invest approximately USD4bn to build, own and operate a green hydrogen production facility in Wilbarger County, Texas, said the company.

The hydrogen project includes approximately 1.4GW of wind and solar power generation, along with electrolyser capacity capable of producing over 200 metric tonnes per day of green hydrogen.

The facility, which is targeted to begin commercial operations in 2027, will serve growing demand for zero-carbon intensity fuels for the mobility market as well as other industrial markets. Air Products and AES will jointly and equally own the renewable energy and electrolyser assets, with Air Products serving as the exclusive off-taker and marketer of the green hydrogen under a 30-year contract.

The project would create more than 1300 construction and 115 permanent operations jobs, as well as about 200 transportation and distribution jobs. It is also expected to generate approximately USD500 million in tax benefits to the state over the course of the project's lifetime, while extending Texas' energy leadership.

"We are very pleased to announce this exciting joint venture with AES, which is one of the leading renewable energy companies in America. “The new facility in Texas will be, by far, the largest mega-scale clean hydrogen production facility in the U.S. to use wind and sun as energy sources.

“We have been working on the development of this project with AES for many years and it will be competitive on a world-scale while bringing significant tax, job and energy security benefits to Texas. “We are excited to move forward and make clean green hydrogen available to US customers in the near future," said Seifi Ghasemi, Air Products' Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

We remind, Air Liquide announces that it has signed an agreement to divest its business in Trinidad and Tobago to Massy Gas Products Holding Ltd. As a consequence of this divestiture, the approximately 30 employees of this business will be integrated within MGPHL. This transaction is part of Air Liquide’s strategy to regularly review its asset portfolio and focus on selected fast developing areas and activities.

South Korean truckers vote to return to work, ending strike for minimum wage protections

South Korean truckers vote to return to work, ending strike for minimum wage protections

MOSCOW (MRC) -- As their walkout entered its third week, South Korean truckers realised their bid to widen and make permanent a government scheme on minimum freight rates was failing as public support waned and President Yoon Suk-yeol refused to budge.

Many businesses prepared for the strike, which began Nov. 24, and were ready to weather short-term pain. And as the government increased pressure - including unprecedented "start work" orders - some of the 25,000 striking truckers headed back to work this week, facing the prospect of not only lost income but lost jobs, drivers told Reuters.

On Friday, the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union said that 62% of union members voted to call off the strike to return to work but that the union would continue its minimum wage campaign.

"The game is over. It is so sad that all we could do is stop our cars, but nothing has changed," said Kang Myung-gil, a container truck driver who came back to work on Monday after a two-week walkout.

"The union fell into a trap that the government buried," said Kang, who is not a union driver, referring to the government narrative that the strike is devastating the country's economy. "Then, we, living day by day, just have to accept the reality and move on."

This summer, an eight-day strike by truckers delayed cargo shipments from cars to cement across Asia's fourth-largest economy before it ended with each side claiming it had won concessions.

But this time, the government rejected the union's bid to expand minimum protections to other kinds of cargo, including oil tankers, package delivery trucks and auto carries, saying drivers are already well-paid. The government has said it would only extend the current wage programme for three more years.

We remind, the South Korean government expanded on Thursday its return-to-work order to more cargo truckers who serve the steel and petrochemical industries, amid the mounting economic cost of the truckers’ strike. The expansion of the return-to-work order was decided on Thursday morning during an extraordinary meeting of the country’s executive branch, citing “serious” damage to the economy.

Azelis expands with acquisition in Australia and New Zealand

Azelis expands with acquisition in Australia and New Zealand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Azelis has agreed to acquire Chemiplas Agencies, a distributor of specialty chemicals, plastic raw materials and ingredients in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, said the company.

Chemiplas has about 100 employees who serve more than 1,900 companies from headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand and six other offices across Australia and New Zealand.

“This acquisition is another illustration of our strong commitment to continued growth in the Asia Pacific region, and is an important milestone in our strategic vision of becoming a market leader in Australia and New Zealand,” Hans Joachim Muller, CEO of Belgium-based Azelis, said in a statement this week.

The transaction is expected to close before the end of Q1 2023. The acquisition price was not disclosed.

We remind, Azelis has acquired Chemcolour, a leading supplier of specialty chemicals and food ingredients in Australia and New Zealand, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition strengthens Azelis’ presence in the region and positions it among the top distributors in the two countries. Australia and New Zealand are wealthy countries, rich in natural resources with growing populations, said Azelis’ CEO, Hans Joachim Muller, adding that Chemcolour is a great platform to extend agreements with its existing, global principal suppliers.

Ineos and Sinopec Agree Fourth Venture in China

Ineos and Sinopec Agree Fourth Venture in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos has agreed a fourth joint venture with Sinopec that will see it take a 50% share in the Tianjin Nangang project, which is currently underway and due to go on stream at the end of 2023, said Chemanager-online.

“This latest joint venture with Sinopec significantly expands Ineos’ petrochemical production and business footprint in China. It is a further example of the close relationship and growing collaboration between Sinopec and Ineos,” said Ineos chairman and CEO Jim Ratcliffe.

Ma Yongsheng, chairman of Sinopec added that the decision to enter into another joint venture is driven by the companies’ dual goals of reducing carbon emissions and managing the energy transition within their businesses, from refining all the way through petrochemicals. “Sinopec will give Ineos a significant local presence and Ineos will contribute its technological and operational expertise, which will create a win-win for the cooperative development of both companies,” he said.

The project at Tianjin comprises a 1.2 million t/y ethane cracker and derivative plants. These include units for 300,000 t/y ABS and 500,000 t/y HDPE, which the partners had previously announced in July as two separate joint ventures.

The Terluran ABS plant is the second of three such plants that Ineos has agreed to build and operate in China in partnership with Sinopec. A first plant with capacity of 600,00 t/y is currently under construction in Ningbo and due on stream by end 2023. The location for a third ABS plant has still to be decided.

We remind, INEOS Enterprises has completed the acquisition of ASHTA Chemicals Inc, from Bigshire Mexico S. de R.L. de C.V. The deal, consists of a 100ktpa Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)/65 kte Chlorine plant.