A new round of expansion at Sinopec-BASF Nanjing production site

March 10 (plastemart) -- In a bid to meet rising domestic demand, a fresh round of expansion is currently underway at Sinopec-BASF partnered BASF-YPC Co Ltd complex at a total outlay of US$1.4 bln.

The move conforms with China's stimulus plan for the petrochemical industry and will help better serve Chinese customers. Another key strategy BASF has used to face the financial crisis is to put a strong focus on targeted industries, such as the automotive and construction sectors.


Bayer to acquire Artificial Muscle

March 10 (prw) -- Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) is acquiring the US-based Artificial Muscle, a manufacturer of electroactive polymers for the consumer electronics industry, for an undisclosed sum.

Through the acquisition, BMS will gain access to Artificial Muscle's product portfolio so will be able to move into the market for electroactive polymers.

AMI polymers are used in actuators and sensing component, for example, in touchscreen panels used in consumer electronics, says BMS. This technology has applications in devices like smartphones, gaming controllers and touchpads.

⌠The takeover of AMI allows us to expand in a new market sector, says Dr Joachim Wolff, head of the BMS Coatings, Adhesives and Specialties unit. ⌠We invest heavily in R&D and this agreement further strengthens our position as a solution provider.

Urethanes Technology International reports that for functional films which can replace complex electronic components made of many parts, which are labour-intensive to assemble, the market for such components was worth $650m (┬478m) in 2005 and is predicted to reach $1bn (┬736m) by 2020, and $2.5bn (┬1.8bn) in 2025 (figures from market research group IDTechEx).


MRC Reference

The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PS - 0.7% (ABS - 7.2%).

Annual sales growth in Russia over the last 5 years:
PS - (-10%).

Polymers processing technologies:
injection molding.

Shini expanding factories in China and India

March 10 (prw) -- Taiwanese auxiliary equipment maker Shini Plastics Technologies is finishing a $18.7m expansion of its factories in China and India, as it seeks to reverse the hit it suffered in the financial crisis and tap into growth in some emerging economies.

The Taipei-based company said in a March 6 interview at the Taipei Plas show in Taipei that it has doubled capacity in the last year with new plants in Shanghai and India, and expansions of existing facilities in south China and Taipei.

The costly expansion came as the global recession dried up its markets last year, sending sales down 30% to about US$48m. But the firm says economic growth in emerging markets is now expected to push sales this year back up to what it was in 2008, or about US$68m.

The company, which spent most of its 41-year history as a private label maker of plastics equipment for companies in Canada, Japan and Europe before launching its own brands in 2003, aims to be a ⌠one-stop shop for plastics auxiliaries, said general manager Aki Wu.

It claims to be the largest maker of plastic auxiliaries in China, and employs about 1,300 in factories in mainland China, Taiwan and India.

Shini launched its automation department in early 2009 and has developed robots ≈ including three and five axis server-controlled models ≈ to add to its line of granulators, dryers, chillers and other auxiliaries. The company believes the robots will be a key driver of growth this year, Wu said.

Wu said most of its growth in 2010 is expected to come from emerging markets such as Brazil, India, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He said if its new 3,000-square-metre Indian plant, in Mumbai, goes well, the company may seek to put a similar factory in Brazil.

That comes as Wu said he is ⌠a little bit worried about the company's markets in mainland China, on fears that the housing bubble will pop this year and slow its economy.

⌠If it did happen, the bad situation will probably only continue for not over one year, he said. ⌠We believe China will recover quickly because the country's government will take action, he said.

China's market actually shrank for the company last year, but Wu said he still expects solid growth there over the next three to five years.

About 50% of the company's products are exported, with about 30% of that going to Japan and developed economies in Europe. Sales in Europe dropped at least 50% last year and are only now slowly starting to recover, Wu said.

Wu said the company began its transition from making private label equipment for other manufacturers to its own brand in 2003, and has seen sales rise steadily. It hired Japanese consultants to help it increase product quality and put in place better internal information systems to boost efficiency, Wu said.

Its expansion is entirely self-financed, with profits from operations paying for the new factories, leaving the company better able to weather the financial crisis, Wu said.

Before 2003, the firm built private-label equipment for Canadian firm Hamilton Avtec and others in Japan, the United Kingdom and Taiwan.


Financing for new petrochemical complex and fertilizer enterprise in Azerbaijan

March 9 (plastemart) -- Azerbaijan's national chemical operator state-run company Azerikimya, seems close to realization of project of construction of a petrochemical complex and a fertilizer factory in Azerbaijan. France's Societe Generale has launched organization of financing for the project. Jointly with the French bank, in Azerbaijan is preparing conditions of the tender procedure for financing. The potential partners then apply to their countries' export and import agencies to receive financing. The UK Export Credits Guarantee Department is considering the issue of financing for the project. Work on drawing of investors is underway as well.

ERM has been shortlisted to make an environmental impact assessment report. It has already started to initial estimates on which the volume and terms of two other stages of EIA will depend. Originally investment cost of the project was estimated at US$5.5 bln. Construction term was expected to be 4 years before the launch of output production and period of recoupment 3 or 4 years. It is considered that due to high rate of return on capital, the project is attractive for investors.

In September 2008, Azerikimya signed similar agreements with companies Exxon Mobil, Bassell, KBR, Technip, Ineos Thysenn Krupp and Uhde. The new complex, including 19 factories, will be designed for manufacture of 700,000 tons of HDPE and LDPE, 130,000 tons of polypropylene, 40,000 tons of benzene, 110,000 tons of styrene and other petrochemicals.


Ineos Nova raised prices for PS

March 9 (plasteurope) -- The wave of price increases for polystyrene continues, following the settlement of the styrene monomer contract for March EUR 42/t higher. In the latest announcement, Ineos Nova said that, effective immediately, it will increase its prices for general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) by EUR 60/t, and the high-impact (HIPS) grades will see a EUR 70/t hike.

The Swiss producer, which cited the need to ⌠restore margins back to a sustainable level, last increased prices for PS in January.


Справка Маркет Репорт

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.