Sika successfully closes MBCC acquisition

Sika successfully closes MBCC acquisition

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sika has completed the acquisition of MBCC Group after having received all necessary regulatory approvals, said the company.

MBCC Group, headquartered in Mannheim, Germany, and formerly owned by an affiliate of Lone Star Funds, is active in the field of construction systems and admixture systems. To close the transaction and to comply with regulatory requirements, Sika sold MBCC Group’s chemical admixtures assets in the UK, the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand to the international private equity firm Cinven. The business now acquired by Sika employs 6,200 people and operates in over 60 countries and 95 production facilities.

Thomas Hasler, CEO: "Today is a historic day for Sika. We are delighted to welcome the MBCC employees to the Sika family. We embark on our exciting journey and will continue to drive Sika’s growth story. Thanks to our extensive experience in integrating companies, we will successfully bring Sika and MBCC together and combine our strengths to create the new reference in the construction chemicals industry."

We remind, the European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of Germany-based construction chemicals producer MBCC by Switzerland’s Sika. The approval, under the EU Merger Regulation, is conditional on the divestiture of MBCC's global chemical admixture business.

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PPG appoints Christine Camsuzou vice president, procurement and chief procurement officer

PPG appoints Christine Camsuzou vice president, procurement and chief procurement officer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG announced that Christine Camsuzou, currently interim chief procurement officer (CPO), has been appointed vice president, procurement and CPO, effective immediately, said the company.

Reporting to Ram Vadlamannati, senior vice president, operations, Camsuzou will be responsible for leading PPG’s global procurement team, processes and strategy.

“Christine is a proven leader who has held many key regional and global assignments and has managed relationships with many of PPG’s key customers,” Vadlamannati said. “With her proven experience across PPG’s global portfolio and the overall coatings industry, she is well equipped to lead the global procurement organization and drive business success for the company.”

Camsuzou began her career with PPG in 1986 and has moved through positions of increasing responsibility across various functions. She has had global leadership responsibility within the procurement function for a decade and was instrumental in implementing global sourcing strategies, leading initiatives to lower supply risks, and delivering on PPG’s savings targets.

Camsuzou earned a Master of Business Administration from ESCAE in Pau, France. At PPG (NYSE:PPG), we work every day to develop and deliver the paints, coatings and specialty materials that our customers have trusted for 140 years. Through dedication and creativity, we solve our customers’ biggest challenges, collaborating closely to find the right path forward. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, we operate and innovate in more than 70 countries and reported net sales of USD17.7 billion in 2022. We serve customers in construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets and aftermarkets.

The PPG Logo and We protect and beautify the world are registered trademarks of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc.

We remind, PPG will invest USD11 million to double the production capacity of its powder coatings plant in San Juan del Rio, Mexico. The expansion project is expected to be completed by mid-2023 and will allow the plant to meet the expected future demand for powder coatings in Mexico.

PPG is a leading supplier of powder coatings to the automotive, transportation, appliance, furniture and other markets. The company expanded the business with its 2020 acquisition of Alpha Coating Technologies, which manufactures powder coatings for light industrial applications and heat-sensitive substrates, and its 2021 acquisition of Worwag, which makes liquid, powder and film coatings for industrial and automotive applications. PPG recently agreed to acquire the powder coatings business of Arsonsisi, including a manufacturing plant in Verbania, Italy.


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SK Innovation sees solid Q2 refining margin on China's reopening

SK Innovation sees solid Q2 refining margin on China's reopening

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SK Innovation Co Ltd, owner of South Korea's top refiner SK Energy, said on Thursday it expects a "solid" refining margin in the second quarter, backed by China's reopening and the summer driving season, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The company did not specify how much it expects its second-quarter refining margin, a key profit metric for refiners, to be. The company posted operating profit of ? 375 B for the first quarter ended March, versus 1.6 trillion won a year earlier. That compared with an average analyst forecast of 175 billion won compiled by Refinitiv SmartEstimate.

Revenue rose 18% to ?19.1 T. SK Innovation, which has a total refining capacity of 1.115 million barrels per day (bpd) at its plants in Ulsan and Incheon, said it operated its facilities at 80% of capacity on average in the first quarter, compared with 77% for the whole of 2022.

It said it planned to carry out routine maintenance scheduled for its No.5 crude distillation unit (CDU) and No. 1 residue fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) in Ulsan in the second quarter. SK Innovation's battery unit SK On - which supplies electric vehicle (EV) batteries to Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), and Hyundai Motor Co among others - accounted for about 17% of revenue in the first quarter.

SK On said in a post-earnings conference call that it had revised down its operating loss for the fourth quarter by more than 30% to ?338 B, reflecting provisions needed for defects in batteries supplied to Ford Motor. In March, Ford Motor, which uses batteries from SK On, recalled 18 electric trucks due to a battery cell manufacturing defect.

Ford said it would replace the battery packs in the 18 vehicles but it was not aware of any fires or injuries related to the recall.

SK On Chief Financial Officer Kim Kyunghun said the company had not yet decided when tax benefits from the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act would be reflected in the company's accounts.

The company said it was discussing potential battery supply deals with clients in North America in light of the U.S. EV tax credits. SK On currently has battery joint ventures with Ford and Hyundai Motor Group in the United States.

SK On's cross-town rival LG Energy Solution Ltd last month offered an upbeat outlook for demand for EV batteries in North America due to the Inflation Reduction Act. Shares of SK Innovation were trading up 0.5% in morning trade, versus a 0.3% fall in the broader KOSPI index.

We remind, North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a second week, with loadings for the week ended 29 April down 1.3% year on year to 47,654, led by a 1.9% decline in the US, according to the latest freight rail data by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). For the first 17 weeks of 2023 ended 29 April, North American chemical rail traffic was down 3.2% year on year to 776,704, with US traffic down 6.0%, to 552,069 loadings.

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How will China's clampdown on mislabeled cargoes affect sanctioned oil

How will China's clampdown on mislabeled cargoes affect sanctioned oil

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chinese customs authorities are stepping up inspection checks on cargoes of heavy crude oil after uncovering several Iranian shipments that were mislabeled as diluted bitumen in an effort to bypass import quotas, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The checks, begun a month ago, are delaying oil discharges into the eastern refining hub of Shandong province. They are also adding to uncertainty over the risk of disruption to shipments from Iran and Venezuela, while cutting into refining operations just as fuel demand recovers.

China's independent refiners known as teapots, which account for more than a fifth of its crude imports, have become top customers of Iranian and Venezuelan oil since late 2019. That has followed tough U.S. sanctions on the two exporters, which have supplied China for more than two decades.

The Chinese refiners have increasingly decoupled from the mainstream global oil market to focus almost solely on discounted oil from Iran and Venezuela, and more recently Russian oil in the aftermath of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

China has repeatedly condemned Washington's unilateral sanctions and defended trade with Iran and Venezuela as normal business practice in line with international law. Will the checks widen to all Iranian cargoes?

This is unlikely. Traders said they believed the checks were technical rather than political and aimed to regulate the domestic market and toughen scrutiny of the use of crude oil quotas. Beijing sets no quotas for state-run refiners, but allots them for independent plants, recently giving greater volumes to "mega" private refiners while cutting back on quotas for smaller plants.

The inspections have primarily targeted shipments of oil with density of less than 950 kg a cubic metre (kg/m3) - mostly Iranian heavy crudes Pars Oil and Soroosh - that account for about 10% to 20% of the Middle East nation's oil into China, compared with dominant Iranian Light and Iranian Heavy.

China's Iranian oil imports, often branded as originating from Malaysia, Oman or the United Arab Emirates, were estimated at 640,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first quarter of 2023, according to tanker tracker Vortexa Analytics. That is up from 490,000 bpd a year earlier and down from 960,000 bpd in the fourth quarter of 2022, Vortexa estimated.

We remind, Oil prices jumped on Friday but were set for a third straight week of losses after sharp declines earlier in the week on fears about interest rate hikes, U.S. banking sector problems and slowing Chinese demand. Brent crude rose USD2.86, or 3.9%, to USD75.36 a barrel by 1058 a.m. ET (1458 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate was up USD2.93, or 4.3%, at USD71.51 after four days of declines that sent the contract to lows last seen in late 2021.

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Oil prices jump but still on track for third weekly fall

Oil prices jump but still on track for third weekly fall

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices jumped on Friday but were set for a third straight week of losses after sharp declines earlier in the week on fears about interest rate hikes, U.S. banking sector problems and slowing Chinese demand, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Brent crude rose USD2.86, or 3.9%, to USD75.36 a barrel by 1058 a.m. ET (1458 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate was up USD2.93, or 4.3%, at USD71.51 after four days of declines that sent the contract to lows last seen in late 2021.

The Brent benchmark was on track to finish the week with a decline of about 5.2%, while WTI was set for a 6.6% loss, despite heading for their biggest daily percentages rises in a month. "Crude is trying to reverse the recent washout in prices triggered by higher interest rates and recession fears mostly in the banking sector," said Dennis Kissler, senior vice president of trading at BOK Financial.

Technically, crude has been through an exaggerated liquidation sell-off, Kissler said, adding that long positions by hedge fund were at some of their lowest point in years, implying "plenty of buying power on the sidelines." Analysts also said that there was a disconnect between oil demand and supply fundamentals and prices.

"The upshot is that there is a big disconnect between oil balances and oil prices," said PVM oil market analyst Stephen Brennock, while Commerzbank analysts noted oil demand concerns were overblown and expect a price correction upward in coming weeks. Equities, which often move in tandem with oil prices, also edged up. A better-than-expected jobs report helped ease some fears of an imminent economic downturn, spurred in part by renewed banking fears.

Meanwhile in China, factory activity contracted unexpectedly in April as orders fell and poor domestic demand dragged on the sprawling manufacturing sector. However, expectations of potential supply cuts at the next meeting of the OPEC+ producer group in June have provided some price support, said Kelvin Wong, a senior market analyst at OANDA in Singapore. Investors also broadly expect the Fed to pause rate hikes at its June policy meeting.

We remind, North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a second week, with loadings for the week ended 29 April down 1.3% year on year to 47,654, led by a 1.9% decline in the US, according to the latest freight rail data by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). For the first 17 weeks of 2023 ended 29 April, North American chemical rail traffic was down 3.2% year on year to 776,704, with US traffic down 6.0%, to 552,069 loadings.

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