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Mergers & Acquisitions
* Chevron Phillips Chemical Company has signed an agreement to sell its Ryton® polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) business to Solvay Specialty Polymers USA, LLC (Solvay) for US$220 mln. As part of the transaction, Solvay intends to purchase CPC's Ryton® PPS resin manufacturing assets in Borger, Texas; its pilot plant along with its PPS research and development assets in Bartlesville, Oklahoma; its compounding plant in Kallo-Beveren, Belgium; and certain intellectual property relating to PPS business. The compounding plant in La Porte, Texas, will remain part of CPC and will be operated by CPC exclusively for Solvay for some period of time.
* State-owned oil and gas firm Petrovietnam has increased its stake in the US$4.6 bln Long Son petrochemical complex in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, Vietnam, by acquiring a further 11% stake from Vietnam National Chemical. With this acquisition, the company now holds a 29% share in the project. The complex will produce 2.7 mln tons of polyethylene and polypropylene, as well as 700,000 tons of compounds for the production of polyvinyl chloride and 840,000 tons of other chemicals.
* BASF and Shell have reached an agreement for BASF to sell its share in the 50-50 joint venture ELLBA Eastern, Jurong Island, Singapore to Shell. The joint venture, which is operated by Shell, produces styrene monomer and propylene oxide. Closing is planned for December 31, 2014. The plant is fully integrated into the Shell site on Jurong Island, Singapore, and has capacity of 250,000 tpa of propylene oxide and 550,000 tpa styrene monomer. The ELLBA joint venture between Shell and BASF in Moerdijk, the Netherlands, is not affected by the transaction.
* Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical will transfer ownership of a planned SR 32 bln (US$8.5 bln) petrochemical facility to their joint venture PetroRabigh. The new facility, known as Rabigh II, will increase output and introducing higher-margin products. Rabigh II will produce ethylene propylene rubber, thermoplastic polyolefin, methyl methacrylate monomer and polymethyl methacrylate among other products. Ownership of the planned new facility will be transferred from Aramco and Sumitomo to PetroRabigh in Q4.
* Two unlisted subsidiaries of Samsung Group- Samsung General Chemicals Co and Samsung Petrochemical Co. are set to merge. The merged company, to be named Samsung General Chemicals, will be launched on June 1. This decision was made in order to create more synergy among the five chemical units of Samsung. The other three units are Samsung Total, Samsung BP Chemicals and Samsung Fine Chemicals.
* Westlake Chemical Corp is to buy Germany polyvinyl chloride (PVC) maker Vinnolit Holdings GmbH and its subsidiary companies for 490 mln euros (US$667 mln) from private-equity firm Advent International.
* The Dow Chemical Company and ExxonMobil Chemical Company have jointly announced signing of a definitive agreement to restructure the ownership of Univation Technologies, LLC, currently a 50:50 joint venture between affiliates of Dow and ExxonMobil. This transaction will result in Univation Technologies becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow aligned to its Performance Plastics operating segment.
* Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise purchased the SABIC Plastic Innovations plant located at Wood County for roughly US$11 mln. The complex, which would be known as Ascent -- Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise -- would include an ethane cracker plant, three polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure for water treatment and co-generation.
Third Point, the hedge fund led by billionaire Daniel Loeb, took a stake in Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) and called for a spinoff of its petrochemicals business to improve profitability.
* Borealis has completed the acquisition of DuPont Holding Netherland B.V. shares of Speciality Polymers Antwerp N.V. Previously, Speciality Polymers Antwerp N.V., located in Zwijndrecht (Antwerp, Belgium) was a joint venture between DuPont Holding Netherlands B.V. (67%), Borealis Polymers N.V. and Borealis Kallo N.V. (together 33%).
* Spanish conglomerate - Cristian Lay group of Jerez de los Caballeros, with interests in designer jewellery, cosmetics and paperboard packaging is set to acquire two plants from the bankrupt PET packaging group La Seda de Barcelona. The group is reported to have offered around Euro 15 mln to buy LSB's 170,000 metric tpa PET polymer plant in El Prat de Llobregat, near Barcelona, along with its 200,000 metric tpa feedstock plant in Tarragona.
* PolyOne Corp has acquired specialty assets from Accella Performance Materials, a leading North American manufacturer of liquid polymer formulations. Accella will retain its polyurethanes and rubber products businesses.
* Global technology and specialty materials company Celanese has acquired substantially all of the assets of Cool Polymers, based in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, a leading compounder of conductive polymers.
* A definitive agreement was reached under which Lion Copolymer will purchase Ashland`s elastomers business based in Port Neches, Texas. The transaction is expected to close by December 31, 2014, contingent on certain customary regulatory approvals and standard closing conditions.
* With effect from April 1, 2014 the TER Plastics Polymer Group based in Herne acquired majority stake of the Polish Polimarky Performance Polymers in Rogoznica. The new TER Plastics subsidiary was subsequently renamed TEREZ Performance Polymers. High performance compounds on the basis of engineering thermoplastics are manufactured at the new location on state-of-the-art extrusion lines.
* INEOS Compounds and Doeflex Compounding have merged their respective PVC compounding businesses, to create a leading European PVC compounds producer. Completion of the business combination has created a leading European PVC compounds producer with a turnover in excess of €200 mln and manufacturing sites in the UK, Sweden and Switzerland.
* A. Schulman has acquired Prime Colorants- manufacturer of custom colors and additive concentrates in Franklin, Tennessee, for about US$15.1 mln. Prime has provided pelletized color concentrates and dry powder color expertise to customers in the automotive and building and construction markets. Prime also provides an entry point for A. Schulman in the liquid color market.
* Teknor Apex Company completed the acquisition of Viking Polymers, LLC, a custom compounder with a diversified portfolio of specialty formulations and a particularly extensive involvement in rigid PVC and related materials for building and construction. Based in Jamestown, NC, U.S.A., Viking Polymers has a nominal annual compounding capacity of 50 mln lbs. (23,000 metric tons). The acquired business will be part of the Teknor Apex Vinyl Division.
* Korea's Songwon Industrial Group has agreed to acquire specialty chemicals division of Sequent Scientific Ltd for an undisclosed amount. As a result, Songwon gains access to Sequent’s polymer stabiliser business and production site in Panoli, Gujarat, together with the local R&D team.
* Polypropylene compounding leader Washington Penn Plastic Co. has acquired the North American specialty compounded PP products business of ExxonMobil Chemical Co.
* Alpek, S.A.B. de C.V. and BASF have signed agreements concerning the EPS (expandable polystyrene) and PU (polyurethane) business activities of their Polioles joint venture in Mexico, and BASF's EPS business in North and South America, excluding BASF's Neopor® (grey EPS) business. Alpek will acquire all of Polioles' EPS business activities, including its EPS production site in Altamira, Mexico. In parallel, BASF will acquire Polioles' PU business activities, including selected assets in its Lerma facility as well as all marketing and selling rights for PU systems, isocyanates and polyols.

Joint Ventures
* Sasol Chemicals North America LLC and INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA have reached final investment decision to form a joint venture to build a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant in LaPorte, Texas. The 50:50 joint venture will produce 470,000 tpa of bimodal HDPE using Innovene™ S process technology licensed from INEOS Technologies.
* DCM Shriram Consolidated Ltd has signed an agreement with Axiall, LLC (subsidiary of Axiall Corporation, USA) for forming a 50 : 50 Joint Venture for the Polymer Compounding business carried on by the 100% subsidiary of the Company, namely Shriram Vinyl PolyTech Private Limited.

Plant Shutdowns
* Styrolution is to shut its 80,000 tpa polystyrene plant in Trelleborg, Sweden, by the end of 2014, citing overcapacity in the European market. However, the styrenics supplier will continue to produce polystyrene at its plants in Antwerp, Belgium and Wingles, France. This follows an announcement in February to shutter its 150,000 tpa polystyrene plant in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts by the end of 2014.
* Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and Royal Dutch Shell (Shell), partners in the SADAF, have abandoned expansion plans. Announced in 2012, SADAF was a proposed expansion of the Jubail petrochemical complex on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia. The expansion was planned for the additions of polyols, propylene oxide (PO) and styrene monomer processing capacity. The feasibility study results were not encouraging to continue the SADAF project further.
* German major Bayer plans to spin off its polymer business into a new, publicly listed entity and move focus primarily to health care. The plan to spin off the polymer business, known as Bayer MaterialScience, was approved by Bayer’s management board. The spun-off plastics business will continue to be based in Leverkusen, Germany.
* Asahi Kasei will close several domestic petrochemicals plants, and has agreed to share a naphtha cracker with Mitsubishi Chemical in light of difficult market conditions. Closures have been announced for its 150,000 tpa acrylonitrile plant in Kawasaki in August 2014; its 320,000 tpa styrene plant in Mizushima in March 2016; its 65,000 tpa acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene plant in Mizushima in December 2015; a 24,000 tpa styrene-butadiene latex plant in Mizushima in December 2015; and its 37,000 tpa epoxy resin plant in Mizushima in May 2015. An agreement has been reached to close Asahi Kasei’s 500,000 tpa naphtha cracker at Mizushima, and instead share output from Mitsubishi Chemical’s neighbouring 500,000 tpa cracker.
* In a bid to bring down the losses due to its underperforming business of polyurethane and phenol, Japanese chemical major Mitsui Chemicals Inc has announced a major restructuring plan, which involves closing down of some production facilities. As a part of the plan for polyurethane business, all plants at the Kashima Works (Japan) and diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI) plants (having production capacity of 60,000 tpa) at the Omuta Works (Japan) of Mitsui Chemicals are scheduled to be terminated and disposed of by December 31, 2016. The phenol plant at the Chiba Phenol Co Ltd – a joint venture between Mitsui Chemicals and Idemitsu Kosan – has been closed, amid sales slumps in domestic phenol and deterioration in export profitability due to oversupply from new facilities in Asia.

Downstream News
* Indian auto components group Samvardhana Motherson is buying the assets of insolvent German plastics car parts producer Scherer & Trier. The €36 mln acquisition, that includes the takeover of two S & T manufacturing plants in Michelau, Germany and Puebla in Mexico, will further consolidate the polymer business of Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd. (MSSL) in Europe and North America. Michelau-based Scherer & Trier injection moulds, extrudes and finishes vehicle parts and profiles and specialises in co-extrusion and multi-component injection moulding. It supplies interior and exterior components and also integrates metals with plastics to form hybrid parts.
* With an aim to propel its growth in Africa region, India’s one of the leading players in chemicals, engineering plastics, packaging films and technical textiles, SRF Ltd has inaugurated a BOPP film manufacturing plant in Cato Ridge, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Brückner Maschinenbau GmbH & Co has installed the state-of-the-art machinery at the site.
* Rajkot-based plastic processing machinery manufacturer Rajoo Engineers has entered into a 60:40 joint venture with the Netherlands-based Meaf Machines BV, a company involved in the sheet extrusion equipment and thermoforming machinery, to address the emerging demand for semi-flexible packaging systems.
* Milacron LLC has inked a partnership agreement with Trexel Inc MuCell® Microcellular Foam injection molding. The partnership agreement will allow Milacron to incorporate the MuCell technology into their injection molding equipment offering. Under the agreement, Milacron will receive the rights to resell the Trexel MuCell SCF gas dosing equipment directly to their customers under the Milacron, Ferromatik, Uniloy and Mold-Masters brands while transferring the operating rights under Trexel’s patents to their end user without any added fees or costs.
* US firm Milacron is to invest US$30 mln in Indian arm – about US$20 mln in its Ahmedabad facility and US$10 mlm in Coimbatore facility. FMI supplies plastic moulding machines to various industries such as packaging, construction, automotive components and furniture. The funds will be used for capacity expansion of existing lines and for setting up a new product line.

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