BorsodChem reached an agreement on new financial structure

February 18 ( -- It seems like Hungarian chemical giant BorsodChem (Kazincbarcika) finally has sailed out of the stormy waters. As reported in several Hungarian media outlets, an agreement in principle has been reached between the majority shareholders - investee Permira (Frankfurt/Germany) and Vienna Capital Partners (VCP, Vienna/Austria) - and minority shareholder Wanhua Polyurethane (Yantai, Shandong/China).

At the centre of the agreement stands the commitment on the part of Permira and VCP to inject about EUR 140m into BorsodChem in order to guarantee liquidity and to finance existing projects for capacity expansion. With Permira allegedly planning to quit its Hungarian investment only in three years' time, Wanhua will remain the minority shareholder until then.

MRCMRC Reference

BorsodChem. The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PVC - 2.5%;
PVC-S - 2.6%.

Annual growth of sales in Russia over the 5 years:
PVC - 201%.

Supply by processing technologies:
profile extrusion;

LyondellBasell reached settlement with unsecured creditors

February 19 (plasteurope) -- LyondellBasell has reached out-of-court settlement with its unsecured creditors, whose financial claims had threatened the group's exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings as well as a possible asset sale.

The creditors had sought to recover part of the USD 22 bn they say was lost in the merger of the former Lyondell and Basell in 2007. The agreement increases the payout to USD 450m from a previously envisaged USD 300m. The additional USD 150m will be paid as reorganised equity, raised by reducing distributions to LyondellBasell's senior lenders and bridge loan providers.

MRCMRC Reference

LyondellBasell. The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PE - 1.4% (including HDPE - 2.5%, LDPE - 0.3%);
PP - 4.1% (including block-copolymers - 9.5%).

Annual sales growth in Russia, during the recent 5 years:
PE - 27%;
PP - 88%.

The leader in the following polymers processing technologies:

pipe extrusion;

film extrusion;

injection molding.

Investments into Ukrainian polymers industry down three times to $US 50 mln in 2009

KYIV (PRIME-TASS) -- Investments into the Ukrainian polymers industry in 2009 decreased three times, to $US 50 million, compared to 2008 - according to the data provided by MRC (MOSCOW). Investments into equipment in that industry had been growing by 26% annually since 2002, and peaked in 2008. The Ukrainian market of bulk polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene) dropped by 10.5%, down to 582 kt, in 2009 - according to the company. The polyvinyl chloride sector was affected most of all others - it shrank by 19%. Polyethylene demand dropped by 7.6% to 293 kt. High-density polyethylene production is still idle in Kalush (Ivano-Frankovsk Region, LUKOIL Group); therewith, the market fully depends on imports.

The balance in the high-density polyethylene market is expectedly to change after the production site in Kalush is launched either at the end of 2010 or in the first half of 2011. Estimated polypropylene consumption went down by 6%, to 104 kt. At the same time, polypropylene output in Lisichansk (CJSC LINIK, Luhansk Region, TNK-BP Group) even increased 16%.

President of the Council of Representatives of the Polymers Industry of Ukraine Andrey Antonov predicts that demand for polymer packaging will become 15-20% stronger in Ukraine in 2010. ⌠That growth will mainly be relating to film products. The construction market is expectedly to become more active by the end of the year, which may boost demand for polymer pipes", he said. He believes that "during the crisis that'd been lasting since 2008 and during the entire 2009 producers became more resistant to the unstable market."

"Today, the survived and stronger companies run their businesses in an absolutely different way: they analyze, plan and follow well-defined development strategies," Andrey Antonov added.


PVC prices to rise in Russia in March

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PVC demand is traditionally weak in Russia during the first two months of the year in view of low finished goods sales; though, already in March consumption will increase and prices are to rise - according to MRC Price Reports.

Russian PVC producers fixed February contract prices at the level of RUB42.500-44.000/mt, including VAT, СРТ Moscow. In the first half of the month, prices for Asian and North American resin went up on average by RUB500/mt, and now they vary within the range of RUB43.500-45.000/mt, including VAT, СРТ Moscow.

March prices for Russian resin are expectedly to go up being pushed up by high PVC prices in Asia, Europe and North America.

Reduced output and shutdown of several PVC units in Europe resulted in cut exports. Some producers already raised their export prices last week. American and Asian suppliers have not announced their PVC prices for March shipments, yet.

For more detailed information on the Russian PVC market, see Price Reports.


Total French refineries on strike

PARIS (WSJ)--Oil major Total SA's (TOT) French refineries were producing at minimum levels Wednesday due to employees' industrial action but the company has taken measures to ensure supplies to customers, a Total spokesman said.

Union Confederation Generale du Travail, or CGT, said in a statement that 95% of employees at all Total's six refineries in France were on strike, while 80% of the group's French storage units were also hit by the action, planned since Feb. 3 to protest against the company's intention to cut refining capacities.

"We don't comment on how many employees are on strike," the spokesman said.

"The company took measures so that this action at that stage has no impact on supplies to customers," the spokesman said, adding that refineries "are producing at minimum levels."

The strike is initially planned to last 48 hours but employees are to meet later in general assemblies to decide whether to extend it, CGT said.

The industrial action was agreed because Total has postponed its decision on the fate of its French Flanders refinery, which has been idled since Sept. 15, due to over capacities, following a drop in refining margins amid a fall of demand for oil refined products in Europe.