Ineos's PE swing facility in Grangemouth resumes operations

March 10 (plasteurope) -- Ineos has resumed operations at its swing plant for the production of HDPE and LLDPE, located in Grangemouth / UK.

However, in response to a query by PIE, a company spokesman said that force majeure - announced in January 2010 - remained in place.


MRC 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.

Sinopec mulls project to expand integrated oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Fujian

March 10 (plastemart) -- China's number one oil refiner Sinopec is mulling a partnership with ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco to expand it's existing integrated oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Fujian with a refinery to process 12 mln tons of crude and 1 mln tpa ethylene plant. Rapidly growing demand for refined oil products in Fujian province is fueling the project. Currently, a feasibility study is underway.

Robust economic recovery is expected to prop demand in China. China's petrochemical industry may see 13-15% year-on-year revenue growth in 2010, with total investment in the petrochemical industry expected to grow by 15%, according to the China Petroleum & Chemical Industry Association (CPCIA). China's petrochemical industry includes oil and gas extraction, oil refining, chemical production and equipment manufacturing. The sector posted turnover of 6.63 trillion yuan in 2009, up 0.3% from a year ago.


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.