Additives for Polymers (v.2009, #1)

Chicago-based AkzoNobel Polymer Chemicals has launched a range of layered double hydroxide (LDH) organoclays, which are claimed to offer customers improved properties, performance and environmental benefits.

US pigment manufacturer Shepherd Color Co has added a new colour to its Precise® product line of extremely durable high-performance inorganic pigments designed specifically for colouring fibres and films. Black 40P925 (CI Pigment Green 17) is black in colour and meets Council of Europe AP(89) and Australian Standard AS 2070 approval requirements, the company says.

Ferro Corp's Engineered Polymer Products business has introduced a number of new products that are said to cut costs or provide enhanced performance to end-use products. These include a new line of white colour concentrates and a new organic antimicrobial.

Colour and additive masterbatch firm Americhem Inc has introduced the latest generation of small-form pellets. Described as a ‘breakthrough product’, dSperse™ is a new mini-pellet masterbatch form that offers customers in the packaging market enhanced distribution, lower letdown rates and decreased energy consumption, the company says.

To counteract the increase in product piracy, Germany's Sachtleben has introduced an innovative marking concept for materials such as polymers that is irremovable, offers a high level of anti-copying security, and can be detected only using special analytical procedures. These particles are said to be suitable for use at the highest (forensic) security level.

Ampacet Corp has developed an additive that permits recycled PET (RPET) and post consumer recycled (PCR) plastics to present a more consumer-pleasing colour balance.

Polymer materials firm PolyOne Corp has announced the availability of OnColor™ non-phthalate PVC masterbatches. These masterbatches are said to be an excellent option for vinyl applications such as toys, packaging, medical devices and consumer goods that must meet the most stringent international regulatory standards. The new range was unveiled at the Salon de l'emballage 2008 Exhibition held in November in Paris.

German chemicals major BASF SE has taken measures to avoid creating overcapacities as a result of ‘a massive decline in demand’ for its polymer and chemical products. In mid-November the company announced temporary shutdowns for some 80 plants worldwide and reduced production at about 100 more facilities. Planned maintenance work has also been brought forward.

Italy's Frilvam SpA has introduced a new series of nucleating masterbatches to make polypropylene transparent like an acrylic polymer. The company says that these new additive masterbatches could provide new applications for PP in injection moulding in areas such as food containers and household appliances.

Carbon black producer Columbian Chemicals Co has announced the closure of its production facilities in Marshall, WV, USA around 31 January 2009. The company says that the move, which will result in the elimination of approximately 55 positions, will better align its carbon black capacity in North America with market demand.

Speciality chemicals group Altana AG of Wesel in Germany reports that it has received a share acquisition offer from SKion GmbH. The offer price is €13.00 per share.

Cabot Corp reports that it has broken ground on a new world-class fumed silica manufacturing facility located in Tianjin, China. The facility is a project of Cabot Bluestar Chemical (Tianjin) Co, Ltd, the joint venture between Cabot's wholly owned subsidiary, Cabot (China) Ltd, and China National Bluestar.

Rhodia and Dow Corning Corp have announced an agreement for the development and commercialization of innovative silica/silane products to support the tyre industry's drive for energy-efficient, safer motoring. Precipitated silica combined with silane coupling agents are used in low-energy tyres to help reduce the rolling resistance and hence the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Spain's Nubiola Inorganic Pigments has successfully completed the expansion of its global ultramarines manufacturing capacity. The upgraded capacity allows Nubiola to produce 16 000 tonnes/year of ultramarine pigments, including blues, violets and pinks, which represents a 25% increase.

In the third quarter of 2008, Basel-based Ciba showed considerable improvement in operational profitability compared to the poor second quarter. However, both earnings and sales were down compared to the same period in 2007.

Though the spate of price rises seen in recent months seems to have slowed considerably, at least for the time being, a number of companies are still finding it necessary to offset escalating input costs by increasing their additive product prices.

Swiss company Clariant has posted sales of CHF6.3 billion (c. €4.2 billion) for the first nine months of 2008. This represents a 5% sales increase in local currencies but a 2% decline in Swiss franc terms from CHF6.4 billion the previous year. Net income rose to CHF170 million for the period compared to CHF22 million in 2007.

For the quarter ended 30 September 2008, Ferro Corp reported net sales of US$608.6 million, up 11% from net sales of $550.7 million in 3Q 2007. Income from continuing operations for 3Q 2008 was $4.9 million, compared with $5.6 million for the same quarter of 2007.