Additives for Polymers (v.2003, #9)

Great Lakes Chemical Corp is to begin producing a new grade of Anox™ 20 hindered phenolic antioxidant with a non-organotin catalyst. The new grade will become available in the fourth quarter of 2003, the company says.

To meet the growing demand for halogen-free fire retardants from wire and cable producers, Techmer PM has developed a flame-retardant additive that it says provides an optimum balance of fire security, processability and cost. Designated PM-9368E12, the new non-halogenated flame retardant will serve as Techmer PM’s flagship product in the company’s campaign to increase its market share in the wire and cable industry. The product was launched at the recent NPE 2003 show in Chicago.

Crompton Corp has launched a line of mixed-metal stabilizers that are claimed to eliminate or significantly reduce the phenol content of vinyl products. In addition, it is offering two new vegetable-based agents that impart slip and anti-block properties in thermoplastic resins.

Cabot Corp has expanded and updated its range of additive masterbatches as the result of a major product development programme. Seventeen new grades have been added to the company’s Plasadd® range, which now contains a total of 40 products for use in a wide range of thermoplastics. Most of the Plasadd masterbatches are produced at Cabot’s Grigno factory in Italy.

Pigment producer Shepherd Color Co used the recent NPE2003 show to introduce its new StarLight™ special effect pigment. The pigment technology is based on a silver coating on a glass substrate and, according to the company, provides superior brilliance, sparkle and lustre compared to currently available pigments.

Sumitomo Chemical reports that it has developed a high-performance single additive system stabilizer with polymer stabilization capabilities matching that typically achieved by a combination of stabilizers. Denoted Sumilizer GP, the chemical structure of this latest addition to the company’s Sumilizer range of polymer antioxidants and stabilizers combines both phenolic and phosphonic moieties and thus possesses the stabilizing characteristics of both systems. Sumilizer GP is reported to improve plastics discoloration and reduce fish eye gel problems in PE films. It shows high compatibility with a variety of solvents and is resistant to hydrolysis, with associated reductions in blooming, odour and black specks, the company says. It is FDA approved for various load levels in PP, HDPE and LLDPE.

BASF is studying plans to restructure its US plasticizers business, according to a recent report on specialchem4polymers.com. It is also considering manufacturing its non-phthalate plasticizer, Hexamoll DINCH, in the USA.

Additives supplier ColorMatrix Corp and BP have signed an agreement for mutual global sales, manufacturing, marketing and technical support of Amosorb® oxygen scavenger technology for barrier PET packaging.

The world’s two largest titanium dioxide producers DuPont Titanium Technologies and Millennium Chemicals are both increasing prices in selected geographical regions.

Albemarle reported second-quarter (2Q) 2003 net income of US$22.6 million, compared to earnings of $16.9 million for 2Q 2002. Results for the quarter reflect higher net sales of $269.5 million, up 6.6% against 2Q 2002, due primarily to the favourable foreign exchange effects in Europe and the positive contribution made by recent acquisitions from Ethyl Corp. This was offset in part by lower shipments of brominated flame retardants and certain performance chemicals products. Compared to a year ago, 2Q 2003 margin percentages were down slightly due to higher energy and raw material costs.

In a bid to improve financial performance, Millennium Chemical is undergoing a wide-ranging shake-up that includes moving its corporate headquarters from New Jersey to Maryland and replacing chairman and CEO William M. Landuyt. Following the resignation of Landuyt, who has been at Millennium’s helm since its spin-off from Hanson plc in 1996, Robert E. Lee has been promoted from executive vice president to president and CEO. Lee will lead the implementation of a programme designed to improve the company’s cost structure and enhance its ability to achieve its strategic priorities. Worley H. Clark, Jr, previously Millennium’s lead director, takes over as chairman of the board.

Great Lakes Chemical Corp posted 2Q 2003 net sales from continuing operations of US$416.7 million, a 2% increase, compared to $408.5 million reported in the corresponding period last year. Excluding the positive effects of foreign currency translation and acquisitions, net sales decreased 4% during 2Q 2003. Income from continuing operations fell from $22.1 million in 2Q 2002 to $16.9 million for the same quarter this year.

Three of the four Business Units (BU) established by the restructuring of Clariant’s Pigments & Additives Division (November 2003, p. 5) have new leadership as of 1 July 2003. The Plastic Industries BU is now headed up by Dr Alexander Sieber, who has worked for Clariant and its forerunner Hoechst AG for more than 20 years. He replaces Dr Fritz Brenzikofer who left the company. At Hoechst Sieber was initially involved in pigments research and development of masterbatches. In 1991 he became CEO of Hoechst’s South African joint venture Polyrem, now part of Clariant. He returned to Germany in 1996 to become head of the pigments business for the printing inks industry of Hoechst AG, a position he retained through the integration of this business into Clariant. With the restructure of the Pigments & Additives Division in January, Sieber took the helm of the Printing Industries BU. He is replaced there by Dr Ulrich Ott. In addition, the leadership of the Specialized Industries unit goes to Kay-Uwe Kutschbach following the assignment of Dr Uwe Nickel as the overall head of the Division.

For the quarter ended 30 June 2003, Noveon reported sales of US$294.0 million, EBITDA of $52.4 million and net income of $10.7 million. This compares to sales of $280.9 million, EBITDA of $57.6 million and net income of $15.8 million for the same period last year. Noveon recorded restructuring charges in the quarter of $1.0 million. For the first six months of 2003, the company posted a reduced net income of $16.0 million on sales up 7% to $576.3 million.

Crompton Corp has appointed Myles S. Odaniell as the new executive vice president of its Plastics and Petroleum Additives operations. He replaces William A. Stephenson, who has left the company. Odaniell comes to the company from Cytec Industries, Inc/American Cyanamid Co, where he was employed for more than 20 years, serving most recently as president — Coating and Performance Chemicals, and president — Cytec Latin America. In these positions he led a staff of 750 and was responsible for a portfolio of global speciality chemical businesses manufacturing both resins and speciality additives.

PolyOne Corp introduced a new family of nanoclay-based polymer concentrates at NPE 2003, the first fruits of its strategic alliance with Nanocor (Additives for Polymers, February 2003, p. 5). Initial applications for the Nanoblend◐ Concentrates include fire-resistant end uses and applications that demand reduced weight and increased stiffness. PolyOne and its customers are currently involved in active testing, particularly focused on dozens of possible uses in the appliance, automotive and electrical industries. Nanoblend Concentrates are easily dispersible and are currently available for the polypropylene and polyethylene resin families, with additional formulations in the final phases of development, the company says. At NPE, PolyOne also introduced its new colour technology capabilities.

Kemira Pigments has invested close to €8 million in its Pori, Finland plant to expand its manufacture of speciality anatase products and provide a new packaging system. New facilities will be built for these purposes. The investments will be completed in December 2004 the company says.

A number of recent reports have highlighted the growing importance of Chinese polymer markets. In the engineering polymers sector, Ticona estimated that consumption of polyacetal in China last year reached 150 000 tonnes. Ticona is involved in building a 60 000 tonnes/year polyacetal plant in the country, and when this project was first mooted had estimated that consumption for 2002 would be 100 000 tonnes, two-thirds the actual level. In addition, consultancy Chemical Market Associates says the 150 000 tonnes increase in Chinese consumption of polycarbonate was the only market to provide any growth for this material last year. The Chinese figure rose to 400 000 tonnes, driven by optical media growth.