Initial US February propylene contracts settle flat

(ICIS) -- US propylene contracts began to settle at a rollover, market sources said on Monday, indicating a recent drop in spot prices outweighed proposed increases sought by US producers.

According to sources, one US producer agreed to a flat settlement that would keep polymer grade propylene (PGP) at 77.50 cents/lb ($1,709/tonne, ┬1,265/tonne).

The producer and a rival supplier had nominated increases of 3.00 cents/lb for PGP in February, but those initiatives lost some momentum after spot prices began to soften.

Spot PGP for February delivery traded at 75.00 cents/lb in the last week of January, down from 75.50 cents/lb two weeks earlier.

Market sources said the same producer settled chemical-grade propylene (CGP) at 74.00 cents/lb, also unchanged from January.

The supplier had initially nominated an increase of 5.00 cents/lb for CGP, which in January settled at 70.00 and 74.00 cents/lb after a drawn-out and unusual split settlement.

The initial flat settlement for US propylene follows a massive increase in January, when PGP contracts rose by 17.00 cents/lb and CGP by 11.00 and 15.00 cents/lb.

The sharp increase in January stemmed from tight supply and higher spot prices, including a 42% surge in refinery grade propylene (RGP) spot prices in December.


Low demand in the Russian market still limits LDPE price hikes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Beginning of the year was marked with considerable growth of prices for LDPE, but even a month later the Russian market still can't entirely accept this swing in prices, according to MRC analysts.

In the first January week the Russian producers raised the prices for LDPE by 2.000 - 2.400 RUB/t. The warehouse stocks of the trading companies made yet in December-first half of January allowed to limit the price hike in the spot market. Traditionally, in the beginning of the year demand for polyethylene is very low in the market that also had an impact on prices.
A month later the situation in the Russian market of LDPE actually didn't change. The purchasing activity is still not high. Demand for many types of films is still low and the current level of prices for polyethylene doesn't allow many converters to increase the volumes of purchases for future. Also a part of converters formed additional material stocks yet in December and with new purchases they plan to enter the market not earlier than in the second half of February.

By the beginning of February the range of prices for LDPE from the Russian producers in the spot market had considerably decreased. The price offer for 158 PE by the beginning of the current week is fixed within the range 62.000 - 63.500 RUB/t, including VAT, FCA. LDPE for production of shrinkable film is offered on average for 62.800 - 64.000 RUB/t, including VAT, FCA.


La Seda de Barcelona sells stake in Brazil's Evertis

(PRW) -- Leading European PET group La Seda de Barcelona has relinquished its minority stake in Evertis, a Brazil-based PET film extruder with operations in Portugal, Brazil and Mexico.

La Seda of Barcelona, Spain sold its 20% share to its majority partner in the business, formerly known as Begreen, the Spanish investment fund Moura Consulting. The firms agreed a minimum price of ┬3m for the deal.

The disposal is part of La Seda's sell off of non strategic assets under the group restructuring plan agreed in December 2009.

Evertis extrudes a range of rigid and semi-rigid PET mono and multilayer films used in the food industry.

In 2007, La Seda purchased the 20% stake of the Brazilian plastics packaging producer for ┬7.4m, with an option to buy the remaining 80% share at a later date. However, in 2009, when La Seda was forced to restructure, it decided it would dispose of its stake after all.


Balkan republic of Macedonia bans plastic bags

(PRW) -- Another European country has revealed it intends to introduce a total ban on regular plastic shopping bags, prompting a switch to biodegradable bags by 2013. The Balkan republic of Macedonia outlawed the issue of free plastic bags by its retailers in January 2009. Since then, shops have either charged for them or provided customers with paper bags instead. Shoppers have to pay 1 Macedonian denar (┬0.016) per plastic bag, according to regional press reports.

In the past two years, the use of regular plastic bags in Macedonia has fallen by 40 - 50%, they add. A change to the production of green' recyclable plastic bags will not present major difficulties for the 25 companies that manufacture plastic shopping bags in Macedonia, the state Economic Chamber of Macedonia is quoted by local news agency MIA as saying.

Producers would not have to invest in new equipment to turn out the compostable bags, although they would face the higher cost of introducing new additives to the process, observed Mirko Jakimovski, head of the chamber's flexible packaging sector organisation.

He was quoted as pointing out that larger local supermarket chains like Vero and Tinex are selling biodegradable plastic bags to shoppers already. Under the latest legislation, Macedonian stores will be able to give away shopping bags free so long as they are biodegradable.


Transformed PolyOne tripled profits in 2010

(Plastics News) -- PolyOne's comeback continued throughout 2010, as the leading compounder and distributor posted large gains in both sales and profit. Avon Lake -based PolyOne on Feb. 3 reported full-year 2010 sales of just over $2.6bn - a gain of 27% vs. 2009. The firm's 2010 profit more than tripled to almost $163m in the same comparison.

PolyOne's Specialty Platform backed up Newlin's claim by finishing 2010 as the largest of the firm's three major units, in terms of both sales and operating income. The Specialty Platform - including global specialty engineered materials, color, additives and inks - posted sales of just over $1bn, up 21% from 2009. Its operating income soared more than 90% to $87.4m.

In Performance Products & Solutions - including the market-leading PVC compounds business - PolyOne saw sales grow 16% to almost $777m, with operating income up 64% to $54m.

PolyOne's Distribution unit led the way for the company in 2010 with sales growth of 46%, nearly reaching $912m. Its operating income also zoomed 75% to $42m.

PolyOne ranks as North America's largest maker of compounds and concentrates with a market share estimated at 11-12%, according to a recent Plastics News ranking.