Ineos to close PVC plant

February 24 ( -- The chemical group has taken the decision to adjust UK PVC output in line with market demand, which has declined steadily over recent years.

Ineos ChlorVinyls intends to cease production at its PVC plant at Barry (Wales) and continue to supply customers from its other PVC plants at Runcorn (Cheshire) and Newton Aycliffe (County Durham). Completion of the consolidation is expected to take place by the end of Q2 2010 latest.

A period of consultation will now commence with Trades Unions and employee representatives. The Company aims to deliver the plant closure with minimum loss of any permanent employees by offering staff alternative employment at other Ineos sites.

⌠The consolidation of our PVC operations will underpin security of supply to our UK customers whilst at the same time delivering an improved cost base - said Geir Tuft, Business Manager -.Streamlining our asset structure in the UK will allow us to concentrate on sites that will deliver long term growth and value to the business.

MRCMRC Reference

Ineos is a petrochemical group.
In Russia Ineos's interests are represented by Ineos Polyolefins and IneosChlorVinyls.

The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PVC - 4.5%;

polyethylene - 1.9%
(HDPE - 2.8%, LDPE - 1.2%);
polypropylene - 1.4%
(PP-random - 22.1%, PP-impact - 2.0%);
polystyrene - 0.9%.

Imports by polymers processing technologies:
profile extrusion;
pipe extrusion;
film extrusion;
injection molding.

Indian firm buying Chemtura's PVC additives business

February 24 ( -- Chemtura Corp. has a deal to sell its PVC additives business, but the buyer is not the stalking horse bidder that first emerged in December.

The buyer is Artek Aterian Holding Co. LLC, a company backed by Indian chemical company Artek Surfin Chemicals Ltd. and New York investment firm Aterian Investment Partners Distressed Opportunities LP.

Artek Aterian is paying $16.2 million in cash, plus assuming liabilities from Middlebury-based Chemtura, according to documents filed Feb. 23 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

The purchase price trumps a stalking horse bid that Chemtura had signed on Dec. 23.

SK Capital Partners LP, a New York-based private equity firm, had signed the stalking horse bid of about $45 million. But the vast majority of that bid consisted of assumed liabilities. Artek Aterian's bid was worth about $18.2 million more to Chemtura's creditors.

Artek Surfin Chemicals is a Mumbai-based company that specializes in metal-finishing chemicals.

Aterian Investment Partners is a private equity firm that invests in small- to middle-market companies that are financially or operationally constrained. The company seeks partners with annual sales of $25 million to $500 million with strong market positions, in need of up to $50 million of capital.

Chemtura had filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors on March 18. Chemtura's PVC additives business had sales of $374 million in 2008, and $177 million for the first nine months of 2009.

Chemtura's PVC additives business makes tin stabilizers, liquid and solid mixed metals, liquid phosphite esters, epoxidized soybean oil, thiochemicals, organic-based stabilizers, and impact modifiers.


Plastics machinery: German producers╜ sales drop 30%

February 24 (plasteurope) -- Sales of plastics machinery made in Germany fell by 30% in 2009 to a production value of EUR 5.6 bn, according to an estimate by the plastics and rubber committee KuG in the machinery manufacturers association VDMA. Nevertheless, the setback against 2008 was less severe than feared last summer. On the basis of business development up to April 2009, the association last July predicted a sales slump of 40%.

Sales of plastics machinery to German customers were down 35%, foreign sales down by 28%, with sales to companies in the euro zone showing a somewhat steeper fall.


Over one third of France's propylene capacity impacted by Total's refinery strike

February 24 (plastemart) -- An already tight supply and demand balance in Europe ahs been aggravated by the refinery strikes at Frances' Total that have impacted around 36% of France's total propylene capacity, according to ICIS. The strike encompasses propylene producing fluid catalytic crackers (FCCs) at all five operational French refineries run by Total - Grandpuits, Donges, La Mede, Gonfreville and Feyzin. The sixth refinery at Dunkirk has been idled since September and has mainly contributed to the union action. Around 7,000 direct employees, suppliers and subcontractors at the refineries went on strike to demand restart of the Dunkirk site, likely to be shut down. Later the employees voted for open-ended strike, which was now threatening to engulf majority of France's propylene capacity since unions had called for solidarity from ExxonMobil and INEOS refinery employees. However, as of now, INEOS, ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell and oil refiner Petroplus are running their refineries as normal.

Market sources assume that the steam cracker linked to the Feyzin refinery has also been closed. Total is reported to have declared propylene force majeure at some of the sites, but this was not yet confirmed directly. This will further tighten the propylene supply in Europe at a time when imports also seem to be difficult because of a dearth of propylene globally. Some sources said that prices would be most definitely higher but largely theoretical since there would be no free volume. The refinery strikes are having a double effect on propylene by affecting upstream crude and naphtha prices as well as propylene availability itself.

An increase from the February's settlement at ┬875/ton was widely anticipated even before the latest constraints on supply, although the rise expected was more modest than last month's ┬85/ton. Now, some contract players were revising their ideas. Problems in France amid production problems at crackers in Germany and in the Netherlands, are expected to make contract discussions difficult.


Total Petrochemicals hopes to acquire Polimeri's PS facility in Feluy, Belgium

February 24 (plastemart) -- France's Total Petrochemicals hopes to acquire a polystyrene facility in Feluy, Belgium, after current owner Polimeri announced plans to close the plant, as per European Plastics News. Total's decision to acquire the plant has been guided by concern about the ⌠social impact of Polimeri's decision. According to the proposed deal, Total would acquire the Polimeri facilities and the right to operate the production lines, with the exception of the EPS unit reactors. Total would continue to produce PS on behalf of Polimeri until the end of 2011 but would stop producing EPS by the end of September 2010.