Additives for Polymers (v.2011, #4)

Ohio-based additives major Ferro Corp has launched Santicizer® Platinum P-1000 as the first commercial product in a planned new series of high-performance non-phthalate plasticizers. The new additive is said to exhibit excellent plasticizing efficiency in many polymer systems, offering fast fusion properties and low volatility compared to many widely used plasticizers.

Denmark's Danisco has developed two new products to counter fog formation in polypropylene (PP) food packaging applications. They are claimed to provide improved and reliable anti-fog performance in a broad range of hot and cold fog applications. In other news, Danisco is currently in the process of being acquired by DuPont in a move that will establish the latter as a leader in industrial biotechnology.

Italian masterbatch firm Viba SpA has created two new formulations, Vibatan PP White 14132 and Vibatan PE White 14133, specifically for pharmaceutical products that have to comply with regulations dictated by the European Pharmacopoeia, and in particular those rules that apply to contact with medicines.

A new line of USP Class VI colorants for the healthcare industry has been launched by PolyOne. OnColor™ HC Plus is a new, globally available palette of standard and custom colours that are pre-certified to meet or exceed ISO 10993 and USP Class VI requirements in seven different medical grade resin carriers as well as liquid. Additional carriers are pending.

Construction of a new black masterbatch plant is underway at Cabot Corp's Tianjin facility located in the Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA) in China. The company is investing approximately US$20 million to build the plant, which will have an initial annual nameplate capacity of about 45 000 tonnes with the capability to expand to 80 000 tonnes in the future.

India's Aditya Birla Group has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Georgia, USA-based carbon black producer Columbian Chemicals Co from One Equity Partners, the merchant banking arm of J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. Subject to the customary approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2011.

Germany's Oxea has announced plans for a significant capacity expansion for its range of speciality esters in order to keep pace with ‘growing demand and developments in the marketplace’. These products are being used to replace traditional phthalate plasticizers in a broad variety of end uses, such as automotive, construction, food and medical applications.

Speciality chemicals group Altana AG has signed an agreement to purchase fellow German firm Kometra Kunststoff-Modifikatoren und-Additiv GmbH. The acquired company produces polymer modifiers in Schkopau, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Colorant specialist CPS Color has increased its production capacities for liquid colorants by nearly 40%, investing €3.5 million both in the supply chain and in research and development facilities at several sites. The investment ensures consistent quality and efficient delivery of colorants at all times, including during peak demand periods, the company says. Company-wide production capacity will increase from 9.7 million litres/year up to 13.5 million litres/year.

Green chemistry company Segetis, Inc reports that construction is underway on expanded production capacity for the manufacture of its solvent and non-phthalate plasticizer products. Scheduled for completion by summer 2011 and located at a contract manufacturing partner in the USA's Upper Midwest, the new facility will be capable of producing several million pounds of Segetis product annually.

Producers of polymer additives and colorants have introduced price increases across a broad range of products in recent months, citing in particular recent and anticipated raw material cost escalations and volatility. Increased energy, packaging, product development and freight costs and the need to maintain investment levels are also variously mentioned as secondary causes. All listed changes are subject to the terms of existing contracts.

The extensive restructuring programme undertaken at Clariant over the past two years was successfully completed by the end of 2010 with all targets achieved, according to CEO Hariolf Kottmann. The company achieved healthy growth in both sales and profits in 2010. It is now planning to acquire a controlling majority stake in German plastics additives manufacturer Süd-Chemie AG in support of its new strategic direction towards profitable growth.

Albemarle Corp reported fourth quarter 2010 earnings of US$85.0 million, up 35% compared to 4Q 2009 earnings of $62.3 million. EBITDA for the quarter was $140 million. The company posted net sales of $605.0 million in the final quarter of 2010, its best quarterly sales performance for the year and an increase of 8% compared to net sales of $558.2 million in 4Q 2009.

New Jersey-based Cytec Industries Inc announced net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2010 of US$48.0 million on net sales of $700 million. Included in the quarter are several special items that total $6.1 million of net income after-tax; excluding these special items, net earnings were $41.9 million. For the same period in 2009, net earnings were $9.8 million on net sales of $648 million. Included in that quarter were several special items that totalled $24.6 million of net expense after-tax. Excluding these special items, net earnings were $34.4 million.

The international information database on chemical substances provided by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) has recently been upgraded and extended to allow searches according to certain chemical properties.

In the UK, researchers at Strathclyde University have developed ‘intelligent’ plastic food packaging that can detect when the contents are starting to spoil. The process is based on the use of an additive within the plastic that triggers a colour change in the packaging when food such as seafood or red meat starts to lose its freshness because it has broken or damaged packaging, has exceeded its ‘best before’ date or has been poorly refrigerated.