PTT Chemical and PTTAR plan to merge

(ICIS) -- Thailand's PTT Chemical and PTT Aromatics and Refining (PTTAR) announced on Friday a plan to merge and create a much stronger entity, ending speculation on the much-delayed consolidation of the petrochemical affiliates of energy giant PTT.

The merged company ⌠will be the largest integrated petrochemical and refining company in Thailand and larger than other southeast Asian peers, PTT said in a disclosure to The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

The new entity would be PTT's petrochemical flagship company, which would have an 8.2m tonne/year petrochemical production capacity and a 228,000 bbl/day capacity to produce petroleum products, it said in the statement, stating its full support for the merger.

An additional investment of $92m would be needed to build a common product pipeline system and improve supporting facilities of the two companies, it added.


Non-phthalate plasticizer expansion coming at Oxea

(Plastics Today) -- Alternatives to phthalate plasticizers for polyvinyl chloride are in demand, and suppliers are reacting swiftly. This week, plastics and chemicals supplier Eastman announced it had completed expansion of its capacity for these additives, and Germany's Oxea says it is expanding capacity at an existing line while also starting construction on a new one. Plasticizer demand globally adds up to about $9 billion per annum, according to some published estimates, with the fastest growth for these non-phthalate products.

The Eastman additive, Eastman 168 non-phthalate plasticizer, is produced at the company's Kingsport, TN headquarters. For processors, the additive is a drop-in replacement for some of the most widely used ortho-phthalate plasticizers. These include some of the most widely used plasticizers such as DEHP, DINP, DIDP, DNOP, DBP, and BBP.

Meanwhile at chemicals supplier Oxea (Oberhausen, Germany), officials have announced they will boost their capacity for specialty esters this year and next to keep up with growing demand. The capacity of the existing ester unit in Oberhausen will be extended by 40%, effective the second half of this year. Additionally, Oxea intends to build a new unit in Oberhausen coming online in the second half of 2012. These capacity increases are meant to support "the increasing market shift to phthalate-free plasticizers and to support the strong demand growth of existing customers," reported Oxea. Oxea also supplies phthalate-based plasticizers.


Plastics recycler MBA Polymers plans expansions

(Plastics Today) -- Post-consumer plastics recycler MBA Polymers (Richmond, CA) has secured $15 million of additional equity funding from Italian private equity company, Ambienta SGR, with plans to use the money to build new factories in Europe and Asia. As part of the investment, Ambienta founding partner and CEO Nino Tronchetti Provera has been named to MBA's board of directors.

MBA's most recent financing round, which commenced last summer, has generated a total of approximately $40 million. MBA Polymers currently operates three plants in Guangzhou, China; Kematen, Austria; and Worksop, England. The company says its customers include top global brands in electronics and appliances. MBA Polymers' 259 employees generated approximately $36 million in revenue in 2010, doubling its 2009 figure.

Ambienta SGR, which came to being in 2007, describes itself as the only Italian asset management firm created exclusively to manage environment friendly investments. MBA will be part of Ambienta SGR's Ambienta I fund.


Daetwyler to establish elastomer plant in China

(Daetwyler) -- The Daetwyler Group further expands its global presence. The Rubber Division, operating as Daetwyler Rubber, in the first half of 2011 will be putting on stream its own facility in China for high precision sealing and vibration-control solutions for the Chinese automotive industry.

The newly constructed facility is located 150 kilometres north-west of Shanghai. Short distances to the main global customers, attractive energy and transport infrastructure as well as access to well qualified personnel are arguments in favour of this site. Capital expenditure requirements amount to approx. CHF 5 million; with the capacities built up through this investment annual sales of around CHF 10 million are envisaged.

Delivery of first prototypes is scheduled for the second quarter of 2011, the launch of industrial production for the second half of 2011.

The automotive industry continues to be the major growth driver of the Chinese economy.


Demand for PVC for pipes production exceeded pre-crisis level

MOSCOW (MRC) -- At the end of 2010 overall consumption of PVC for pipes production made 66 KT, which was 35% more than in 2009 and 5% more than in 2008, according to MRC Annual report.

MRC analysts connect the recovery of PVC pipes market in 2010 with total growth of consumption of construction materials. Last year consumption of raw materials made record 66 KT of PVC, 20% out of which fell at import deliveries, mainly from Asia. The biggest suppliers of import PVC for pipes production in 2010 were the Chinese companies: Xinjiang Tianye (6.2 KT) and Xinjiang Zhongtai (4.1 KT).

Production of PVC pipes is one of the promising directions in PVC processing in Russia for next 5 years, according to MRC analysts. In case of growth of polymers pipes market, on average, by 10% a year, for next five years the share of PVC pipes is expected to increase to 10-12%.

A growing sector of pipes production in Russia is the sector of hoses production. Powers gain for hoses production has had a positive trend since 2002 without showing decrease in 2009 (powers gain made 24 KTa). In 2010 production of PVC hoses increased by 30 KT a year.

Detailed analysis of PVC market, short- and long-term forecasts on its development is available in MRC Annual report PVC in Russia-2011.