Additives for Polymers (v.2007, #7)

Organosilane specialist Dow Corning Corp, jointly owned by Dow Chemical Co and Corning Inc, recently launched Dow Corning® Z-6173 Filler Dispersion Aid. This innovative multifunctional siloxane product is claimed to improve filler dispersion and compatibility between materials as well as providing application-specific benefits.

PolyOne Corp has introduced new patent-pending PicoTint™ Liquid Colorants, which are said to be ideal for use with a wide range of clear thermoplastic engineering resins such as polycarbonate, poly(methyl methacrylate), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), clear acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), glycolized polyester and terpolymers.

DuPont Packaging has expanded its DuPont™ Biomax® Strong family of polymer modifier additives with a grade that is compliant with regulations for food contact applications in the USA and Europe. Launched last year [ADPO, October 2006], Biomax Strong additives improve the performance of renewably sourced bio-based polylactic acid (PLA) packaging.

Ampacet has developed a new line of light-diffusing masterbatches using a polymer-based diffusion compound specially formulated for polycarbonate, acrylic and other clear plastics. According to the company, these masterbatches provide greater light transmission than traditional mineral-based light diffusers, which are used to eliminate the hot spots caused by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in such applications as signage and illuminated knobs.

Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties LLC (MMMS), a US-based manufacturer of magnesium hydroxide, is expanding its production facility for MagShield flame retardants in Manistee, MI. The company says the expansion will be completed shortly and will increase capacity by nearly 100%, bringing total MagShield capacity to about 52 000 tons per year.

Speciality chemicals company Perstorp has announced plans to build a new plant for the production of valeric aldehyde and its derivates 2-propylheptanol (2-PH), valeric (pentanoic) acid and a new plasticizer, dipropylheptyl phthalate (DPHP). The investment, which is expected to amount to E175 million, is Perstorp's largest ever. The new production plant is to be built in Stenungsund on the west coast of Sweden, already one of the company's largest production sites.

Albemarle Corp has opened a new regional sales office in Dubai to meet growing demand for its products in India and the Middle East. Demand for catalysts, polymer additives such as flame retardants and antioxidants, and other speciality chemicals is growing in the region as countries are beginning to build and operate refineries to upgrade crude oil, process petrochemicals, and manufacture plastics and other downstream products.

To place greater focus on its core businesses, Chemtura Corp has signed a definitive agreement to sell its organic peroxides business to German company PERGAN GmbH in an all-cash transaction for an undisclosed amount. Included in the deal will be Chemtura's Marshall, TX, USA, manufacturing facility, which employs approximately 40 people. The transaction, which requires the approval of certain regulatory bodies, is expected to close by the end of July. The organic peroxides business being sold had 2006 revenues of approximately US$20 million.

Peter Greven Fett-Chemie of Germany and Malaysia's IOI Oleochemical Industries are setting up a joint venture in Penang, Malaysia. Under the terms of the agreement, the company formed is to be called Peter Greven Asia and will manufacture metallic stearates. Peter Greven will own 60% of the joint venture, which was due to commence operations in April.

Akzo Nobel has reported a strong start to the year for the refocused company. The combined Coatings and Chemicals business posted autonomous growth of 6% in the first quarter of 2007, while operational results before incidentals of €219 million were 18% higher than the corresponding period last year. The Pharma activities, which are reported as discontinued operations following the recent decision to sell [ADPO, May 2007], also performed well, with first quarter operating results jumping 8%.

US-based masterbatch specialist Techmer PM has signed a partnership agreement with Mash Compostos Plásticos, a young Brazilian company specializing in the production of technical and colour compounds and masterbatches in a variety of polymers, including PP, polyamide, ABS and PE. This agreement is the first step toward local production in Brazil of Techmer PM's colour and additive masterbatches for mouldings, films, nonwovens and polymeric fibres.

For the first quarter of 2007, Chemtura Corp reported a loss from continuing operations of US$15.5 million on sales of $955.0 million. For the comparable quarter of 2006, the company posted net earnings of $13.2 million on sales of $915.8 million.

Ciba Specialty Chemicals reported sales of CHF1.66 billion (c. E1.0 billion) for the first quarter of 2007, a 3% increase in Swiss francs and local currencies compared to CHF1.62 billion for 1Q 2006.

Saudi Arabian company Cristal has completed its acquisition of Lyondell's titanium dioxide (TiO2) business, Millennium Inorganic Chemicals (MIC) [ADPO, April 2007]. As a result, MIC has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Cristal.

Chicago-based CPH Holding Corp, the parent of a group of companies providing speciality chemical solutions, has changed its name to The HallStar Company. The new name unites group companies under a single brand name.

Dow Polyurethanes, part of The Dow Chemical Company, has completed the acquisition of British Vita's polyurethane systems business, Hyperlast Ltd.

Tronox Inc reports that the potential sale of its Uerdingen, Germany, titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment facility is proceeding as planned. The company has narrowed the list of potential buyers and begun the next phase of the process.

The technical experts of the European Union's member states met on 6 March to discuss for the last time the environmental risk assessment of brominated flame retardant (BFR) tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA).

US compounding and masterbatch firm A. Schulman has acquired Sweden's Delta Plast Group, subject to regulatory approval. Delta Plast is a colour masterbatch manufacturer with plants in Sweden and Belgium.