South Korean Lotte Group considering new petrochemical ventures in southeast Asia

(ICIS) -- South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group is considering new petrochemical ventures in southeast Asia, including an investment in Indonesia that may top $5bn (┬3.6bn), a company official said on Friday.

⌠We are considering a cracker and its downstream units in Indonesia but we are still studying what kind of downstream plants to build, said the official who declined to be named.

Lotte Group has also started a feasibility study for investments in other countries in southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Malaysia. The study was expected to be completed within this year, the official said.

The Lotte Group currently has a presence in Indonesia via its subsidiary, Honam Petrochemicals, which acquired Malaysia's polyolefin major Titan Chemicals in July 2010. Included in the acquisition was Titan's Indonesian subsidiary - PT Titan Petrokimia Nusantara (TPN), which has a polyethylene (PE) production capacity of 450,000 tonnes/year.


US butadiene contracts to rise by 6% in March

(ICIS) -- US butadiene (BD) contracts will rise by 6% in March, market sources said on Thursday, attributing the increase to limited US supply and rising prices in Asia.

According to sources, producers stepped out this week with proposed increases ranging from 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne, ┬80/tonne) to 7 cents/lb, initiatives that will put BD in March at $1.04/lb.

US BD contracts in February rose by 5 cents/lb and 8 cents/lb, following a split settlement that left most of the market settled at 99 cents/lb and a few contracts at 97 cents/lb.

BD prices in Asia are rising because of the higher cost of natural rubber (NR), which is causing tyre producers in the region to use more styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) to offset the increase.

BD is a key feedstock for SBR. The price of SBR in Asia may rise above $4,000/tonne in March - a record high for the product - if demand continued to exceed supply, SBR producers in the region said this week.


BASF forecast its sales in 2011 will rise by around ┬3bn

(ICIS) -- BASF has forecast that its sales in 2011 will rise by around ┬3bn ($4.1bn) from the previous year following the full integration of specialty chemicals producer Cognis, the chairman of the German chemicals major said on Thursday.

Speaking at BASF's annual financial press conference, Jurgen Hambrecht said that the company was optimistic about its performance in 2011 following a strong start in the first quarter.

Earlier on Thursday, BASF posted fourth-quarter net income of ┬1.1bn ($1.5bn), compared with ┬455m in the 2009 fourth quarter, whiles sales surged 25% year on year to ┬16.4bn, the highest of any quarter last year.

BASF's full-year net income in 2010 more than tripled to ┬4.56bn, compared with ┬1.41bn in 2009, as sales rose 26% year on year to ┬63.9bn.


BorsodChem to increase price for TDI

(BorsodChem) -- BorsodChem will increase price for TDI in Europe and Export. With effect as of March 1st, 2011, BorsodChem will be increasing its prices for toluene diisocyanate (TDI) in Europe by 150┬ per metric ton, in Export by 200$ per metric ton. The price adjustments are needed to respond to the significant rise in raw materials and energy costs.

Indorama Ventures and CSM to set up a PLA manufacture

(Indorama Ventures) -- Indorama Ventures PLC (IVL) and CSM subsidiary Purac are in discussions to set up a Polylactic acid (PLA) manufacturing facility in Thailand, with an initial capacity of 10,000 tons per annum being raised to 100,000 tons per annum after developing application specific grades. This product would be based on high purity (GMO free) Lactides produced by Purac. The Lactide monomers for the production of PLA will be sourced from Purac's Lactides production plant in Rayong, Thailand as well as from other Purac sites.

The product made by the combination of unique Lactide raw materials and unique PLA production process is able to deliver a quality that is stable at much higher temperature ranges than other bioplastics. The properties of this polymer allow this to be used for many textile and packaging applications which have not been possible with other bio-based products so far and will thus open a large latent demand. PLA has many uses, like upholstery, disposable garments, awnings, food packaging, and disposable tableware.