Huntsman prioritises dividends, buybacks before M&A

Huntsman prioritises dividends, buybacks before M&A

Huntsman is placing a priority on dividends and share buybacks for uses of cash, but it is not ruling out acquisitions if the businesses meet the company's criteria, the CEO US-based polyurethanes and materials producer said.

Already, Huntsman's board approved a 12% increase to its quarterly dividend. More recently, Huntsman completed the USD593m sale of its Textile Effects business to Achroma, a company owned by the private-equity firm SK Capital Partners.

The company wants to rank among the upper quartile among chemical companies in regards to returning cash to shareholders, said Peter Huntsman, CEO. He made his comments in an interview with ICIS on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), held by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).

Following the dividend and share buybacks, Huntsman's next priority is maintaining money for potential mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Huntsman stressed that the company will remain disciplined about acquisitions, even though it has not made any recent ones.

The company is particularly interested in acquiring businesses that would fit in its Advanced Materials and Performance Products segments, he said. "I'd like to see products that are going to be less volatile in their earnings and technologies that will complement what we are doing right now in light-weighting, adhesion and renewable chemistries." Advanced Materials produces epoxy resins and other thermoset resins.

Performance Products makes amines and maleic anhydride (MA). While Huntsman is interested in making acquisitions in those two segments it is not ruling downstream polyurethane deals. Polyurethanes make up the company's largest segment in terms of sales and earnings. Huntsman's next priority for spending is organic growth after dividends, share buybacks and M&A, Huntsman said.

We remind, Huntsman completed the USD593m sale of its Textile Effects division to Archroma, a company owned by the private-equity firm SK Capital Partners. Archroma was set up by SK Capital Partners in 2013 after acquiring the textile chemicals, paper specialties and emulsions businesses from Swiss producer Clariant in 2013. It has about 3,000 employees in 25 facilities globally.

LyondellBasell and EEW Energy to partner in advanced plastic recycling

LyondellBasell and EEW Energy to partner in advanced plastic recycling

Chemicals maker LyondellBasell Industries (LYB.N) and thermal waste treatment firm EEW Energy signed a letter of intent exploring partnership aimed at recycling plastics from incineration waste streams, the companies said.

The proposed collaboration could construct waste pre-sorting facilities at or near EEW incineration plants in Germany to remove plastics from waste streams that are sent for incineration, LyondellBasell said in a statement.

The companies would invest in advanced sorting facilities to refine the plastic that has been removed, the Houston-based multinational chemical group added.

Big oil and chemical companies are hailing so-called advanced recycling as the solution to a waste crisis that has lawmakers looking to crack down on plastics use.

The companies aim to close the loop on plastics that are currently sent for incineration and would avoid fossil emissions associated with combusting these materials, the statement said.

We remind, LyondellBasell NV said it was exploring strategic options for its U.S. Gulf Coast-based ethylene oxide & derivatives (EO&D) business. The company said it was analyzing the potential to retrofit the Houston refinery to build up its Circular and Low Carbon Solutions (CLCS) business.

Evonik Catalysts invests in capacity expansion to support Activated Nickel Catalysts market

Evonik Catalysts invests in capacity expansion to support Activated Nickel Catalysts market

Evonik Catalysts is fully on track to expand its production capacities for activated nickel powder catalysts marketed under the KALCAT and Metalyst brands at its production sites in Hanau, Germany, and Dombivli near Mumbai, India, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The company is responding to the growing demand for its precious metal-free powder hydrogenation catalysts from the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and sugar substitutes industries, thereby increasing supply security for the benefit of its customers.

The debottlenecking projects with a total invest of high single digit million Euros, are designed to increase Evonik's capacity by 25%, are on schedule and expected to be completed by a global network of multi-purpose production plants to boost efficiency, improve infrastructure, and further strengthen production capabilities. The new capacity is expected to be available to the market in second half of 2024.

“For decades, Evonik Catalysts has been at the forefront of activated nickel catalysts, making us the global market leader and technology leader in most of these products, ensuring customer proximity and supply reliability," says Sanjeev Taneja, Head of Business Line Catalysts. The investment will benefit both sites in Germany and India and is a clear commitment to Evonik Catalysts' customer-centric 'think global - act local' approach supporting the business line's growth trajectory.

"The investment will not only increase capacity, but also enable us to expand our portfolio to include a wider range of products with superior properties. This will enable our customers to carry out hydrogenation reactions with less quantities of catalyst while maintaining activity and even faster cycle times due to reduced settling times, thus significantly improving process efficiency," adds Bettina Munsch, Head of Evonik's Life Science & Performance Catalysts Product Line.

Supporting circular economy activated nickel catalysts consist solely of metal, basically nickel, and do not include an inert support such as alumina, silica, or carbon. This allows for a complete catalyst material reclamation.

Besides activated nickel catalyst powder, Evonik recently launched a new innovation - activated nickel foam for sustainable and efficient fixed bed continuous processes. The nickel foams are lightweight with a very large reactive surface. They have an extremely low pressure drop and less abrasion, as well as longer catalyst life and reduced maintenance costs in downstream equipment.

We remind, Evonik, the market and innovation leader in polyurethane additives, has boosted its range of high-performance products for the spray polyurethane foam (SPF) industry with the release of DABCO PM 301. Used in combination with the latest Opteon™ 1100 and Opteon™ 1150 blowing agents from Chemours, a global chemistry company, DABCO® PM 301 improves thermal performance and increases efficiency in SPF systems.

S-OIL selects tech for PE project in South Korea

S-OIL selects tech for PE project in South Korea

S-OIL Corporation has selected Univation's UNIPOLPE Technology for three world-scale production lines to be located at S-OIL's site at Ulsan, the Republic of Korea, said the company.

Each line is designed to achieve a nameplate capacity of 400,000 tons per annum for a combined polyethylene (PE) production capacity of 1,200,000 tons per annum.

The design basis for these three lines enables S-OIL to access the full-density flexibility of the UNIPOL PE Process platform. This flexibility enables S-OIL with production capabilities to satisfy a wide range of demand for essential HDPE and LLDPE applications for both domestic consumption as well as global export market needs. S-OIL has further elected to access Univation's advanced product portfolio covering both HDPE and LLDPE applications.

S-OIL will also use Univation's PREMIER APC+ 3.0 platform which delivers advance process control capabilities further enhancing the overall operating performance of all three UNIPOL PE Process lines. Univation developed the APC+ 3.0 platform specifically for the UNIPOL™ PE Process to enable superior operational control that allows the optimizing of raw material utilization, maximization of production rates, and provides for seamless product grade transitions. Additionally, S-OIL has elected to utilize the UNIPOL PE Process Virtual Plant Simulator software. The UVPS training platform is designed to deliver realistic operation training experiences allowing S-OIL to train its entire staff on all essential unit operations related to the UNIPOL PE Process including both routine and non-routine operating conditions.

Luis Cirihal, president of Univation Technologies, commented, "We are delighted to have been selected as the PE technology licensor by S-OIL Corporation for these three world-scale UNIPOL PE Plants, and it is our privilege to build upon the close collaborative business relationships already established with the S-OIL team throughout all aspects of this project – from initial design, through a safe, successful start-up, and continuing into steady-state production". Luis continued, "One of the key tenets of Univation focuses on establishing life-long collaborative relationships with our customers – and we look forward to deepening the relationships that have already been created to further support S-OIL in realizing their key business objectives through maximizing the benefits derived from this new significant source of polyethylene".

We remind, S-Oil has started building its crude-to-chemicals project in Ulsan which is expected to provide won (W) 3tr (USD2.3bn) in added value to the northeast Asian economy. A groundbreaking ceremony was conducted on 9 March for the project called Shaheen - Arabic word for falcon - which should generate up to 17,000 jobs during peak construction, and after start-up, should support more than 400 jobs, S-Oil said in a statement. The company is over 63%-owned by Saudi Aramco through its subsidiary Aramco Overseas Co.

S-OIL was established in 1976 and cultivated management characteristics with a mobility to match the international generation, and a management strategy for its profit-base to grow as a competitive oil-refining company. The company has facilities that produce lube base oil, petro-chemical products, and crude oil refining facilities of 677,000 barrels a day in Ulsan, a metropolitan city in the southeast of the Republic of Korea.

Repsol links its fuel discounts to a unique multi-energy offer in Spain

Repsol links its fuel discounts to a unique multi-energy offer in Spain

Repsol announced the launch of a new connected energy program aimed at customers of its portfolio of energy products: fuel, electricity, heating, solar and electric mobility, said Polymerupdate.

This unique multi-energy proposition in Spain, which will come into effect on April 1, replaces the current fuel discounts, effective March 16, 2022.

The company's innovative approach links fuel discounts to customers contracting their energy products and paying for them through Waylet, its free payment and loyalty application, which has more than 6 million registered users.

Customers can achieve a discount in the form of a Waylet balance of up to 20 euro cents per liter of fuel on a permanent basis and 100% of the amount when recharging electric vehicles at the company's public points and service stations. These savings generated in Waylet can be used for future payments, either at service stations and electric recharging points, or on Repsol bills (electricity and gas), in the purchase of butane cylinders, diesel orders, gift cards and in any of the more than 4,400 establishments linked to the Waylet network.

In addition to accumulating savings, the company's customers also benefit from having a single supplier that covers all their energy needs. Repsol has always demonstrated its commitment to its customers through a unique value proposition and competitive advantages to offer them a differential global service.

We remind, Repsol will nearly double the production capacity of its Reciclex recycled polyolefins with a new production line at its Puertollano Industrial Complex in Spain. The company will invest EUR 26 M to install a new 25,000 tonnes/y production line for polyolefins with mechanically recycled plastic content. Repsol currently has 16,000 tonnes/y of Reciclex polyolefins capacity.