Berry Global Announces Yet More Plant Closures

Berry Global Announces Yet More Plant Closures

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Berry Global CEO Tom Salmon announced during the company’s Q3 earnings webcast this week that the packaging giant would be shutting down 20 facilities, said Plasticstoday.

That’s five more than were mentioned in the Q2 earnings call in May. The company is not revealing the plant locations at the present time. When PlasticsToday asked Berry Global about that, Marketing Communications Manager Amy Waterman responded that the company is unable to release the list of facilities, adding that “our divisions continually review our overall manufacturing footprint to ensure efficient service to our customers.”

Writing for Powder & Bulk Solids, Kristen Kazarian did note that one recent closure happened in Scotland. Berry BPI, a division of Berry Global, announced that its plant in Greenrock, Renfrewshire, shut down as a result of a reduction in demand from customers in the healthcare, construction, and industrial packaging markets, as reported by Scottish media outlet The National.

During the Q3 earnings call, Salmon said, “We’re going to be in a position in 2024 where we see growth in the general market environments improve, and we’re going to benefit from having executed against 20 facilities that have been shut down... it's exciting going forward with an optimized footprint and lower cost structure that will benefit the bottom line, as well."

Salmon, incidentally, will retire from the company effective Dec. 31, 2023. Kazarian notes in her article that the Berry Global website has already changed the number of facilities from “300 plants around the world” to “more than 265 plants.” The math is a bit squishy, but that comes out to a reduction of around 30 facilities.

We remind, China has issued 15 MMt of oil products export quotas to companies in its third batch for 2023, according to three trading sources and two domestic consultancies. The volume consists of 12 million tons of refined products quotas, made up of kerosene, diesel and gasoline exports, and 3 million tons of marine fuel.

PP Compound First to Receive UL Certification for Thermal Runaway Protection of EV Batteries

PP Compound First to Receive UL Certification for Thermal Runaway Protection of EV Batteries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sabic’s Stamax 30YH570 resin for use in electric vehicle (EV) battery systems has earned the UL Verified Mark from Underwriters Laboratories, said Plasticstoday.

The compound is reportedly the first-ever polymer to pass the thermal runaway box test, according to UL 2596, Test Method for Thermal and Mechanical Performance of Battery Enclosure Materials.

This 30% glass fiber–reinforced polypropylene (PP) copolymer resin, offered under Sabic’s Bluehero electrification initiative, is the first EV-grade polymer to receive UL verification for marketing claims of thermal and mechanical performance. UL verification, based on an objective, scientific assessment by a respected third party, can give customers high confidence in the flame delay performance of this product, said Sabic.

The vast majority of EV batteries perform without issues throughout their useful life. Although thermal runaway incidents are rare, the safety-conscious automotive industry is highly focused on ensuring that the design and performance of EV battery systems prolong the time available to exit a vehicle by delaying propagation of a fire beyond the battery pack. A key consideration is the proper selection and deployment of fire-protection materials used for battery pack components, including enclosures and covers, trays, and thermal barriers that separate cells into groups.

We remind, Russia's seaborne diesel and gasoil exports in August rose by 2% from a month earlier to about 3.85 million metric tons on healthy fuel production, data from traders and LSEG showed. Idle primary oil refining capacity for August was estimated at 3.1 million metric tons versus 2.458 million metric tons in July, Refinitiv Eikon data and Reuters calculations showed.

Trinseo Eyes More Shutdowns to Balance Books

Trinseo Eyes More Shutdowns to Balance Books

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Having reported a loss of USD349 million on sales of USD963 million in three months to June 2023, polycarbonate (PC), styrenic, and acrylic (PMMA) resin supplier Trinseo is eyeing further plant closures as part of a restructuring plan that has garnered management team approval, said Plasticstoday.

The closures affect the following operations:

The Bronderslev, Denmark, plant that makes PMMA cast sheets;
PMMA extruded sheet production line in Rho, Italy;
batch polyester tray casting plant in Belen, NM.

The potential closure of the Terneuzen, Netherlands, styrene plant is pending final approval from the board. The plan also entails non-manufacturing job cuts in order to streamline general and administrative operations. Trinseo said most of the restructuring plan should be completed by the end of 2024.

In December 2022, Trinseo announced that it was shuttering its styrene production facility in Boehlen, Germany, and shutting down a PC production line in Stade, Germany. It also said that it would consolidate PMMA sheet manufacturing in Matamoros, Mexico, at the Aristech Surfaces production line in Florence, KY, and reduce styrene-butadiene (SB) latex capacity at its site in Hamina, Finland.

Trinseo acquired Arkema’s PMMA business in May 2021. The company’s existing PMMA offerings serve several end markets including automotive, building and construction, medical, and consumer electronics.

One area where sales held up last quarter was automotive, which is part of the company’s Plastics Solutions business. This business unit was adversely affected by the PC sheet line shutdown as well as sales of copolymers for building and construction, industrial, and consumer durables applications.

Hexpol CEO and president Georg Brunstam passes away

Hexpol CEO and president Georg Brunstam passes away

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hexpol AB chief executive officer and president Georg Brunstam has passed away, the Swedish compounding group announced 1 Sept., said Sustainableplastics.

"It is with great shock and grief that we have received this sad notification", said Alf Goeransson, chairman of the group, in the message announcing Brunstam's death. No details were shared about the cause of death.

Brunstam joined Hexpol as CEO and president in 2008 and took over as chairman of the board in 2017, with Mikael Fryklund, formerly of Trelleborg stepping into the CEO role. In November 2020 – after the departure of Fryklund – Brunstam returned to his former leadership position, as both CEO and president of Hexpol.

Brunstam has been credited for successfully developing Hexpol into “a world-leading player in the market of polymer compounds.” “Georg has created a strong organisation with many highly skilled and qualified managers,” said Goeransson.

Deputy CEO and CFO Peter Rosen is to serve as acting CEO and president while Hexpol's board searches for a new CEO and president.

We remind, Hexpol Group recorded its best 2Q to date. In 2Q 2023, overall total sales expanded by 1.2% year-on-year to SKR 5727 M ($539.7 M), while adjusted EBITA jumped by 17% to SKR 976 M ($92 M). Compounding sales went up by 1% year-on-year, with sales hitting SKR 5354 M ($504.5 M) including positive currency effects of SKR 363 M ($34.2 M). Adjusted for these, sales totalled SKR 4991 M ($470.3 M). According to Hexpol, sales to automotive-related consumers improved, although mixed across geographies. Sales to customers within construction and building were substantially lower in almost all markets, while it also displayed lower sales to consumer-related end customer divisions.

ABB supports innovative bioplastics project as main electrical contractor for Avantium and Worley

ABB supports innovative bioplastics project as main electrical contractor for Avantium and Worley

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Avantium, a pioneer in the emerging renewable and sustainable chemicals industry, is building a new plant that will support the transition to bio-based plastics to replace ones that rely on fossil-based raw materials, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Located in Delfzijl, The Netherlands, the facility will use a novel technology that converts plant sugars into a next-generation plastic material called polyethylene furanoate (PEF).

PEF is a new recyclable and plant-based plastic material that offers the potentially powerful combination of positive environmental and performance features that can be used in packaging, textiles, films and other sectors. The first piling works at Avantium’s new site started in April 2022, and construction should be complete in 2024, enabling commercial launch of PEF products from 2024 onwards.

During the early phase of this project, ABB supported Worley with a proactive consulting approach that helped to achieve technical improvements and to reduce risks. This will finally contribute to granting Avantium with a high-quality, reliable power distribution system to run its renewable bioplastic plant.

“Based on the positive experience gained on this project, Worley and ABB are extending the relationship to cooperate more closely on other greenfield projects,” said Rob Doove, Business Development Manager at ABB.

We remind, Oil prices jumped by more than 1% on Friday and were on track to snap a two-week losing streak, buoyed by expectations of tightening supplies. Saudi Arabia is widely expected to extend a voluntary 1 million bpd oil production cut into October, prolonging supply curbs engineered by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, known collectively as OPEC+, to support prices.