Additives for Polymers (v.2007, #11)

At the K 2007 show in Düsseldorf, Germany, international chemicals giant BASF AG presented an array of new colorants, effect pigments and light stabilizers for innovative products as well as custom solutions for the entire value chain.

Swiss-based Ciba has developed a new light stabilizer, Ciba® Tinuvin® PUR 866, which is claimed to provide enhanced weatherability and excellent long-term colour retention for thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) resins used in sports and leisure applications. The product received its US debut at UTECH North America 2007 in September and its European debut at October's K Show.

Albemarle Corp, headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has developed a new generation of its Martinal® finely precipitated aluminium trihydrate (ATH) flame retardants to meet customer demand for improved processability in compounding operations.

Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical Co has put together a new specialized product portfolio of nine performance additives and speciality polymers for thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) compounds. The products are engineered to improve the appearance, performance and processability of TPEs, and offer targeted results based on desired end-use or processing benefits, the company says. Eastman has also invested in the creation of a dedicated sales, engineering and technical team to support its entry into the growing TPE market.

Altana subsidiary BYK of Wesel, Germany, introduced three new solutions for the plastics industry at the K fair in Düsseldorf: an odour-stripping agent, a processing additive and a wetting and dispersing additive for colour masterbatches.

US-based flame retardant major Albemarle Corp is expanding production capacity for its Saytex® 8010 brominated flame retardant by almost 20% in order to meet increased demand. The expansion, which is underway at the company's Magnolia, AR, facility, is expected to be complete in January 2008.

French company Arkema is investing in a major expansion of its PVC heat stabilizer production facility in Beijing, China, in response to strong growth in the region's construction and packaging markets. The plant serves the company's customers throughout Asia.

In response to rapidly growing demand in South-east Asia and the Middle East, German company Baerlocher is investing in a new production unit for vegetable-based calcium and zinc stearates at its Seremban site in Malaysia. Commercial production from the new 5000 tons/year capacity line will start in mid 2008.

A company has been established in the USA to commercialize a new family of polyphosphonate homopolymers and polyphosphonate–polycarbonate block copolymers that offer excellent flame-retardant properties. FRX Polymers LLLP aims to find initial markets for its products as polymeric flame-retardant additives for plastics and as non-burning speciality polymers.

Oklahoma-based Tronox Inc, the world's third-largest producer of titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment, has decided to retain its Uerdingen, Germany, TiO2 plant after full evaluation of the strategic options for this asset. The business and financial market assessments did not accurately reflect the ‘long-term value of this world-class facility’, the company says.

Georgia-based Columbian Chemicals Co has started operations at its new carbon black plant at the Camaçari Pole chemical complex in Brazil's Bahia state. The US$75 million facility has an annual production capacity of 75 000 tonnes, which can be expanded as the market develops, the company says.

In line with most of the major TiO2 producers, Tronox has announced further price rises for its products from 1 October 2007, or as contracts allow. The price for all grades will increase by US$150 per tonne in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), and by US$100 per tonne in the Asia-Pacific region.

With the continuing escalation of raw material and energy costs, a number of additives manufacturers have again been obliged to increase prices for their products.

Leverkusen-based chemical company Lanxess has increased underlying quarterly profitability once again. The company's main performance indicator – EBITDA pre-exceptionals – rose by 5% year on year in 2Q 2007, to €211 million. The operating result (EBIT) pre-exceptionals advanced by 9.4% to €151 million.

Sales for Swiss speciality chemicals firm Clariant totalled CHF4.336 billion (€2.605 billion) in the first half of 2007, up 6% in Swiss franc terms and 5% in local currencies from CHF4.081 billion a year earlier. The company reported continued strong demand across all divisions.

For the first six months of 2007, Swiss speciality chemicals producer Ciba posted net income, including discontinued operations and restructuring charges, of CHF103 million (€61 million), compared to a net loss of CHF202 million for the same period of 2006. This was achieved despite increased raw material costs and weakness in certain markets which restricted sales growth for the half year to 2% in Swiss franc terms.