SK Innovation turns to profit on crude cuts

SK Innovation turns to profit on crude cuts

MRC -- SK Innovation swung back into black in the third quarter on the back of rising crude prices and refining margins, while its battery-making subsidiary, SK On, again failed to turn a profit, said Koreajoongangdaily.

However, as SK On’s quarterly operating loss has narrowed to the smallest ever, SK Innovation expects its money-losing battery maker to turn to profit in the fourth quarter.

According to a regulatory filing Friday, SK Innovation posted 1.56 trillion won ($1.16 billion) in operating profit for the July to September period, up 122 percent from the same period last year and a turnaround from the previous quarter’s operating loss of 106.8 billion won.

The figure beat the market expectation of 1.05 trillion won compiled by FnGuide.

Net profit jumped 316.6 percent to 729.6 billion won, above the expectation of 613.4 billion won.

Revenue declined 12.59 percent on-year to 19.89 trillion won, falling short of the forecast of 20.04 trillion won.

SK On logged an operating loss of 86.1 billion won in the third quarter, the smallest quarterly loss for the battery maker and revenue of 3.17 trillion won, up 45 percent on year.

“In the third quarter, we realized a consolidated operating margin of 7.9 percent, up 8.4 percentage points from the previous quarter,” SK Innovation said in a release.

The company cited the profitability increase in the oil refining business driven by OPEC+’s crude production cuts and the enhanced productivity in the battery business, as well as added tax benefits from the U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit (AMPC).

“With the battery business, we are aiming to turn to profit in the fourth quarter through the continued productivity enhancement at new production operations overseas, the tax benefit increases from the AMPC and cost reduction,” the company added.

During the July to September period, SK On received AMPC benefits worth 209.9 billion won under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act program. That surpasses the combined total of the preceding two quarters by far, which amounted to 47.2 billion won in the first quarter and 119.8 billion won in the second.

SK Innovation’s petroleum business logged an operating profit of 1.11 trillion won in the third quarter, a turnaround from the previous quarter’s loss of 411.2 billion won, as OPEC+ members have continued to limit the global crude oil production.

We remind, SK Innovation will invest about Korean won (W) 1.7tr ($1.2bn) to build a plastic chemical recycling complex in Ulsan, South Korea by the second half of 2025. The complex, which is expected to have a recycling capacity of about 250,000 tonnes/year, will be built at a 215,000sqm site and will have three chemical recycling processes, namely, high-purity polypropylene (PP) extraction, depolymerisation and pyrolysis.

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Solvay Q3 EBITDA decreased by 23.5%

Solvay Q3 EBITDA decreased by 23.5%

MRC -- Belgium-based Solvay’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 23.5% year on year in the third quarter, driven by lower volumes, the company said.

In € million Q3 2023 Q3 2022 % change 9-month 2023 9-month 2022 % change; Net sales 2,747 3,609 -23.9 9,001 10,141 -11.2; EBITDA 702 917 -23.5 2,331 2,493 -6.5; --Q3 chemicals sales dropped to €993m from €1,236m in the same quarter of last year.

--The fall on Q3 net sales was due to -15% lower volumes (€-512m) in a weaker macro environment and -5% lower prices (€-188m) in a context of lower raw material costs and energy prices. The volume reduction was broad based across regions and businesses.

--The underlying EBITDA margin stood at 25.6% in Q3 2023 compared to 25.4% in Q3 2022 despite lower volumes, while nine months EBITDA margin of 25.9% is +1.3 percentage points higher than the corresponding period in previous year, mainly as a result of positive net pricing and cost discipline.

--The company reconfirms its full year EBITDA guidance at the lower end of €2.9-3.1bn range.

--The company is on track to complete the planned separation into two companies – SOLVAY and SYENSQO - in December 2023.

We remind, Solvay announced its plans to lower the production capacity of its soda ash plant in Torrelavega, Spain by 300,000 tonnes/y to 600,000 tonnes/y, effective Jan 2024. The site will now concentrate on serving the needs of regional soda ash and premium grade sodium bicarbonate customers.

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Arkema starts up its specialty UV/LED curing resins' capacity expansion in China

Arkema starts up its specialty UV/LED curing resins' capacity expansion in China

MRC -- Arkema has begun production of Sartomer® specialty UV/LED curing resins at its expanded facility in Nansha, China, where the Group invested to double the capacity, as announced end-2021, said the company.

This will support the development of more sustainable solutions for fast-growing applications in Asian markets, such as cutting-edge solutions in electronics, driven by 5G technology, and in renewable energies.

The Nansha capacity expansion leverages the most recent process and manufacturing standards. The whole plant has an energy efficiency program, and aims at carbon neutral growth through green electricity purchasing and the installation of solar panels.

“Doubling the capacity of the Nansha plant will allow us to support the growth, innovation and regional supply of our customers in Asia. The accelerating need for lower carbon solutions is creating new opportunities for the UV/LED curing technology, which is expanding fast to a wider range of substrates and applications” said Richard Jenkins, Senior Vice-President of Arkema’s Coating Solutions.

We remind, Arkema collaborates with industry leaders including EOS, HP and Stratasys, to continue offering customers more sustainable, high-performance materials for additive manufacturing. This is particularly true of its bio-sourced Rilsan® Polyamide 11, for which the Group recently announced a further reduction in the carbon footprint of all its grades globally. This initiative represents an improvement of around 70% compared to traditional polyamide resins produced using fossil-based raw materials and conventional energy sources.

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Celanese Q3 earnings surge as sales rise faster than costs

Celanese Q3 earnings surge as sales rise faster than costs

MRC -- US Celanese saw profits surge over the third quarter as sales rose faster than costs, the acetyls and engineered materials producer announced on Monday.

The following tables show the company's Q3 financial performance. Figures are in millions of dollars.

The company said net sales of $2.7bn were down by 3% from the prior quarter, representing a 3% decrease in pricing which was partially offset by a 1% increase in volume.

The company said it took actions to reduce costs, align production and inventory levels with demand, and maximise cash generation in response to unfavorable demand and competitive dynamics, including reducing inventory balances by $177m with inventory reductions across Engineered Materials and the Acetyl Chain of 7% and 6%, respectively.

The following table shows the Q3 performance of the Acetyl Chain. It makes acetic acid, vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), ethyl acetate (etac), butyl acetate (butac) and acetic anhydride as well as vinyl acetate ethylene emulsions and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA).

We remind, Celanese will idle eight units in its Engineered Materials segment, while running many other plants at reduced rates. Celanese did not specify which units it will idle, what products they make or how long they will remain down. Out of the idled plants, six are in Mobility & Materials (M&M), a business that Celanese acquired from DuPont. The remaining two predated the M&M acquisition.

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Solvay confirms plans to create largest North American production facility for electric vehicle materials

Solvay confirms plans to create largest North American production facility for electric vehicle materials

MRC -- Solvay confirms its plans to build a new battery-grade PVDF facility in Augusta, Georgia, said the company.

With more than half of U.S. car sales projected to be electric by 2030, the U.S. produced PVDF - a thermoplastic fluoropolymer - will allow supply for the rapidly growing EV battery market, meeting the growing needs of U.S. domestic energy storage markets. The new operations will provide material for more than 5 million EV batteries per year at full capacity and create hundreds of jobs throughout the value chain.

Solvay and Orbia have just signed their joint venture agreement for this project. The partnership secures the supply by Orbia of needed materials for Solvay to manufacture its suspension-grade polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) production, which is used as a lithium-ion binder and separator coating in electric vehicle batteries. Solvay, on the other hand, will bring its process technology and global market know-how to this venture. In combination, Solvay’s Solef® PVDF innovations and Orbia’s raw material assets and production expertise will enable delivery of PVDF that enables electric vehicles to go farther on each charge, extends battery life and improves battery safety.

We remind, Solvay announced its plans to lower the production capacity of its soda ash plant in Torrelavega, Spain by 300,000 tonnes/y to 600,000 tonnes/y, effective Jan 2024. The site will now concentrate on serving the needs of regional soda ash and premium grade sodium bicarbonate customers.

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