Chemical Industry News July 2014

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DuPont cuts outlook on weak agriculture results

DuPont also revised its second-quarter and full-year earnings outlook, citing a lower-than-expected quarterly performance from its agriculture segment and, to a lesser extent, its performance chemicals unit. The company expects second-quarter earnings to fall “moderately below” the $1.28/share recorded in the year-ago quarter, and lowered its 2014 earnings forecast to $4–4.10/share, down from the $4.20–$4.45/share.

Asia predicted to be main demand region for polyolefins

In a Chemical Week article, Ajay Shah, senior executive v.p./chemicals at Reliance Industries announced that Asia will remain the main demand region for polyolefins, and its share of worldwide polyolefin consumption will exceed 50% by 2020, with China representing well over half of this share. India’s polyolefin demand, although far behind that of China, is expected to be about 10 million m.t./year by 2020, representing 10% of total Asian demand. Shah made the announcements at the IHS Chemical’s annual Polyethylene Polypropylene Chain Global Business Forum (PEPP) that took place in Zurich this week.


Monsanto third-quarter income down

According to Reuters NY, Monsanto Chemical Company reported that its fiscal third-quarter net income was down 5.6% year-on-year (YOY), to $858 million, on sales that were roughly flat YOY, at $4.25 billion. Earnings totaled $1.62/share, down 2.4% but ahead of analysts’ consensus estimate of $1.56/share.

SABIC takes first steps into renewable polyolefins

ICIS reports Saudi Arabia’s SABIC plans to manufacture and market a full range of renewable polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) by feeding “second generation” waste animal and vegetable oil feedstocks into its crackers in Europe. The project objectives are to help customers meet consumer demand for sustainable, renewable products, particularly in the packaging sector.


Senators draft bill to extend life of chemical security program

In a Global Security Newswire article, Douglas P. Guarino wrote that senators are working on a bill that could extend the life of a controversial chemical security program, but details still remain under wraps. The Senate Homeland Security Committee was to mark up what it is calling the “Protecting American Chemical Facilities from Attack Act of 2014” on June 25, but consideration of the measure was ultimately deleted, without explanation, from the agenda of a committee business meeting that day.A spokeswoman for the panel, which is chaired by Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), declined to provide details regarding the legislation and how soon it might be unveiled.


Braskem adding UHMWPE capacity in Texas

According to an article by Frank Esposito, Brazilian plastics giant Braskem SA will spend $34 million to build a plant making ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) at its site in La Porte, Texas. Construction on the plant will begin in the third quarter of 2014, with completion expected in the first half of 2016. São Paulo-based Braskem currently only makes UHMWPE in Brazil. The firm sells the material under the UTEC brand name.

Researchers Test Low-Carbon Cement

Forbes magazine article reported that Researchers at Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne are testing a low-carbon cement that could reduce the carbon footprint of construction sites by 40 percent.

The cement is made from calcined clay and ground limestone that creates a cement that is less porous and stronger than traditional cement when added in large amounts to concrete mixtures. This could make the new material, called LC3 (Limestone Calcined Clay Cement), a greener alternative to Portland cement, the cheapest, most commonly used cement but also the most energy-intensive to produce and the most caustic.

PPG industries acquire Mexico’s Comex for $2.3 billion

In an article by Robert Wetervelt, PPG Industries announced that the company has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Consorcio Comex (Mexico City), a leading Mexican producer of architectural and industrial coatings, for $2.3 billion. The deal follows two months after Sherwin-Williams (SW) cancelled plans to acquire the Mexican operations of Comex for $2.3 billion after Mexico’s federal competition commission blocked the deal.

The privately held Comex has approximately 3,900 employees, eight manufacturing facilities, and six distribution centers, and had sales of approximately $1 billion in 2013. Comex sells coatings and related products in Mexico and Central America through approximately 3,600 stores that are independently owned and operated by more than 700 concessionaires. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary reviews. PPG expects the regulatory review to take four to six months. PPG says the deal is its largest since the 2008 acquisition of SigmaKalon for €2.2 billion (US$3.2 billion).

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