A. Schulman adding a fourth production line to its 2010 Brazilian acquisition

(Plastics Today) -- A. Schulman is adding a fourth production line to its 2010 Brazilian acquisition, Mash Compostos Plasticos, boosting annual capacity at the plant by 8 to 10 million lb to a total annual capacity of approximately 22 million to 24 million lb. Mash, which was acquired on Oct. 18, 2010, is a masterbatch additive producer and engineered plastics compounder.

A. Schulman employs roughly 2900 people across 33 manufacturing facilities in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Six months prior to the Mash acquisition, which cost the company USD16.6 million, A. Schulman gained entry into the Brazilian market through its April 30, 2010 acquisition of ICO Inc., which included three facilities in Brazil. The company now has four locations in Brazil, including former ICO sites in Minas Gerais and Brasilia, as well as two in Sao Paulo (ex ICO and Mash).


PP prices in the Middle East will likely remain firm

(ICIS) -- Polypropylene (PP) prices in the Middle East will likely remain firm and even increase in May, buoyed by short availability of the material, with two major suppliers due to shut plants for turnarounds, industry sources said on Friday.

Regional converters are hurting from the strong prices, but PP producers had to either rollover values or adjust them higher to keep a decent spread from feedstock propylene, even when demand is not strong, they said.

PP raffia grade, which is used in packaging of grains, was discussed at USD1.700-1.740/tonne (EUR 1.173-1.201/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and USD 1.720-1,740/tonne CFR East Mediterranean (East Med) on Friday, market sources said.

Propylene was at USD 1.550-1.580/tonne CFR NE Asia at midday, while US crude futures were hovering at USD 108/bbl.

According to ICIS data, spot PP prices surged 21% since the start of the year on the back of rising raw material costs.


US-based Dow Chemical increased its dividend by 67%

(ICIS) -- US-based Dow Chemical increased its dividend by 67%, the company said on Thursday, the first increase since 2009 when the company was contending with a series of crises. The increase will bring the dividend to 25 cents/share, up from 15 cents/share, where it had been since 2009. Back then, Dow was struggling with uncertain credit markets, unprecedented lower demand for chemical products, the global recession and what it called at the time, "pending business issues". Specifically, Dow was intent on preserving its investment-grade rating. Meanwhile, the company had just reached a settlement to acquire Rohm and Haas for USD 78/share. Before the February 2009 decrease, Dow's dividend was 42 cents/share. The new dividend will be payable on 29 July to shareholders of record on 30 June.


IPIC going ahead with a proposed $3 billion refinery at Fujairah

(Emirates 24/7 Business) -- International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic), which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government, said it was going ahead with a proposed USD 3 bln refinery at Fujairah in the north of the United Arab Emirates.

The 200.000 barrel per day (bpd) oil refinery will be located near Abu Dhabi's main oil pipeline and deep water export terminals in Fujairah, Ipic said on Wednesday. "It will be designed to process UAE crudes such as Murban, Upper Zakum and Dubai," it said.

Shaw Stone and Webster has been awarded the project management consultancy contract for the front-end engineering and design (Feed), it said. The project is currently in the pre-Feed stage and project completion is scheduled for mid-2016.

"The refinery project in addition to being of strategic importance will create social and economic benefits for Fujairah and other Northern Emirates as well as creating employment opportunities during the operational phase in the UAE," said Khadem al Quabisi, managing director of Ipic, in a statement.

Various financing options including project financing are under consideration for the project, the statement said without giving details.


CNOOC to build 1 mln tpa Huizhou steam cracker

(SZ Energy News) -- China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) plans to start work on a 1 mln tpa naphtha-fed steam cracker in Huizhou, Guangzhou province, by end of 2013-early 2014, as per Platts. Capacities include 1 mln tpa of ethylene, 500 KTa of propylene and 150 KTa of butadiene.