Additives for Polymers (v.2003, #10)

UK speciality additives manufacturer Croda Chemicals has expanded its range of Incroslip low-taste, low-odour slip additives for sensitive applications such as ozonated bottled waters, food packaging and medial plastics.

Ciba Specialty Chemicals has introduced a new colour-matching solution for plastics, inks and paints. The package combines an upgraded recipe formulation system, Ciba® COLIBRI™ QuickMatch 1.1, new COLIBRI™ QC 1.0 software for fast quality control and COLIBRI™ Library Services, which allow users to take advantage of the company’s know-how in software, colorant manufacturing and applications. The system is comprehensive, flexible and user friendly, according to Hermann Angerer, global head of Ciba Specialty Chemicals’ Coating Effects Segment.

Akzo Nobel Polymer Chemicals is planning further restructuring measures to improve its performance. A number of cost savings measures were instigated in March this year but these have failed to improve performance sufficiently and further restructuring is now considered essential for the future of the business.

Antimicrobial treatments specialist Sanitized AG has received EPA registration for its new additive Sanitized® PL 21-60. This registration assures the product’s entry to the US market, the company says.

BASF is claiming a market first with its pigments with certified filter pressure (FP) values for dyeing polypropylene fibres. The company says that every pigment lot is tested for FP and certified, removing the need for users to perform FP testing as part of their incoming quality control. The pigments are also claimed to provide superior ‘worry-free’ processing.

Clariant’s new chief executive Roland Lösser has announced a wide-reaching corporate transformation programme in an endeavour to significantly reduce debt, cut costs, and re-establish the group as one of the leading speciality chemicals companies. Overall, the programme targets more than CHF1.5 billion in proceeds from asset sales and aims to increase the pre-tax return on invested capital within the next three to four years to at least 12%, up from the current level of around 7%. The company’s cellulose ethers and electronic materials businesses will be sold and four agrochemicals plants closed. The refocused strategy is the result of an extensive internal review.

In related news, Akzo Nobel has announced its intention to sell three businesses from its Chemicals portfolio to give the company “more room to manoeuvre”. Catalysts, Coating Resins and Phosphorus Chemicals will be divested.

The latest price increases from DuPont, Great Lakes and Rohm & Haas concern titanium dioxide, brominated flame retardants and monomers.

For the first six months of 2003, Clariant achieved sales of CHF4.3 billion, down 7% in Swiss franc terms but up 2% in local currencies compared to the same period last year. The company recorded a net loss of CHF49 million for the half-year, compared with a net income of CHF145 million in the year-earlier period. This was as a result of an exceptional charge of CHF142 million relating to the closure of a detergents additive plant closure. “We are not satisfied with these results and they underline our determination to refocus the company and significantly improve our performance over both the short and long term”, CEO Roland Lösser says, referring to the recently announced corporate transformation programme (see p. 4).

Süd-Chemie AG, headquartered in Munich, Germany, has acquired the intellectual property and know-how relating to the use of organoclays with inorganic fire retardants from Alcan Aluminium UK Ltd. The sale by Alcan comes as a result of the closure of its UK chemicals operations in Burntisland late last year. Alcan and Süd-Chemie were previously involved in a cooperative development programme to exploit the benefits of this technology for polymer materials.

PolyOne Corp reported sales of US$650.9 million for the second quarter ended 30 June 2003, a decrease of $20.0 million or 3% from 2Q 2002 and an increase of only 1% over the first quarter. PolyOne had a net loss of $6.0 million for the quarter compared with net income of $6.1 million in 2Q 2002. The loss includes $2.3 million of special items after tax associated with restructuring initiatives such as the closure of the Fort Worth, TX, colour additives plant.

Crompton Corp reported a 2Q net loss from continuing operations of US$19.4 million compared to a loss of $16.9 million for the second quarter of 2002. The 2Q losses from continuing operations for 2003 and 2002 included pre-tax overhead expenses previously absorbed by the now-discontinued OrganoSilicones (OSi) business. For the first six months of 2003, the company reported a net loss from continuing operations of $26.1 million compared to a loss of $18.3 million in 2002

BASF Corp has appointed ChemPoint.com as an exclusive distributor for its Larostat® antistatic additives product line and a distributor for its Lupasol® polyethylenimine polymer line for sales in the USA. BASF says this arrangement will provide its customers with sound technical expertise, convenience and responsive supply chain service.

Cabot Corp’s Carbon Black business group has a new general manager following the departure of William P. Noglows, who left to pursue other opportunities. His replacement is executive vice president William J. Brady, who joined Cabot in 1986 and since then has held various senior management positions in both the USA and Japan.

Phenolic antioxidants are well known for trapping peroxy radicals to prevent oxidative degradation in organic materials such as plastics. To eliminate such degradation it is also important to trap alkyl radicals, because autoxidation includes both peroxy and alkyl radicals as chain carriers. In general, alkyl radicals cannot be trapped because they react too quickly.

A Degussa team, based in a new project house in Hanau-Wolfgang in Germany, has started a three-year R&D project in functional polymers and manufacturing techniques. They will seek solutions for customers, such as the use of polymer/nanomaterial interactions for improved scratch resistance, barrier properties, conductivity and UV resistance.

Manufacturer of speciality magnesium compounds Kisuma Chemicals BV reports that the project initiated in October last year to expand the production capacity at its plant in Veendam, The Netherlands, is nearing completion, right on schedule. The project, which required an investment of about €4.5 million, aims to increase nameplate capacity by 40% over its previous level of approximately 10 000 tonnes.

The Bromine Scientific and Environmental Forum (BSEF) has welcomed the decision by the state of California’s legislature to exclude the polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardant deca-BDE from bans that it is imposing on two other PBDE flame retardants.