Additives for Polymers (v.2012, #3)

Israel's ICL Industrial Products (ICL-IP) has signed a licensing agreement with Dow Global Technologies LLC, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co, for its eco-friendly polymeric flame retardant technology. Introduced last year [ADPO, May 2011], Dow's technology will be used for the launch of FR122P, ICL-IP's next-generation brominated polymeric flame retardant for use by the building industry in extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation products.

Specialty Minerals Inc, the wholly owned subsidiary of New York-based mineral products manufacturer Minerals Technologies Inc, has launched two new antiblocking products for use in high-clarity plastic film and bag applications.

Dow Chemical Co's plastics additives business is reportedly planning to introduce an antiscratch additive for compounding with polycarbonate (PC) to compete with UV-cured PC hard coatings. The company says that this approach eliminates the need for a hard protective coating and halves the cost to obtain a hardened PC.

Emerald Kalama Chemical, a division of Emerald Performance Materials, has started the construction of a new operation to produce K-Flex® non-phthalate plasticizers and coalescents at its facility in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The new operation is scheduled to be commissioned during the third quarter of 2012. Elsewhere, the company's polymer additives division recently introduced a new liquid antioxidant.

Albemarle Corp reports that it has recently modified its ‘easy-to-handle’ aromatic diamine curative Ethacure 300. According to the company, it has ‘greatly reduced’ the odour of the liquid product, which is used in both hot and room-temperature polyurethane cast elastomers and sealants, while retaining performance.

Manchester, UK-based Akcros Chemicals Ltd reports that it has developed an innovative production process enabling the manufacture of organo-phosphites that are guaranteed to be completely free of phenol. These phenol-free products are now available for purchase.

Lanxess subsidiary Rhein Chemie has opened its new production facility at the Jhagadia site in the Indian state of Gujarat, successfully completing the transfer of production from Madurai in southern India after a construction time of just under a year. At the facility, the company produces its Rhenogran (predispersed polymer-bound additives) and Rhenodiv (tyre release agents) product lines for the rubber processing industry, both of which are ‘very successful’ worldwide, the company reports.

German phosphates and speciality chemicals firm Budenheim has revealed plans to build an additional plant for the production of melamine polyphosphate (MPP) with an annual capacity of 3000 tonnes. MPP is an important element in the company's portfolio of halogen-free flame retardants.

USA-based speciality cleaning products company W.M. Barr has acquired leading antimicrobial products manufacturer Microban International, headquartered in Huntersville, NC, USA, effective 30 December 2011. Microban products are used in plastics [e.g. ADPO, February 2011 & September 2009] and other materials in a wide range of consumer products, commercial and food-service equipment, building products, healthcare items and textiles.

Through its wholly-owned subsidiary Dow Europe GmbH, US chemicals major Dow Chemical Co has signed a definitive agreement with Turkey's Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii AŞ to form a joint venture (JV) to manufacture and commercialize carbon fibre and derivative products. Under the terms of the agreement, Dow and Aksa will each hold a 50% stake in the JV.

Ohio-based A. Schulman, Inc announced on 30 January 2012 that it had reached a definitive agreement to acquire Elian SAS, a leading European manufacturer of highly specialized colour masterbatches, from British Vita plc. The purchase price is approximately €48 million (c. US$63 million) in cash, and the transaction was expected to close in early February. The deal expands Schulman's presence in Europe and boosts its speciality colour masterbatch business.

For the fourth quarter of 2011, Albemarle Corp posted earnings of US$99.4 million compared to 4Q 2010 earnings of $85.0 million. The company reported net sales of $707.4 million in 4Q 2011, up 17% compared to net sales of $605.0 million in the same quarter of 2010. The company says these figures represent the best fourth-quarter earnings performance in its history, and the ninth consecutive quarter of growth.

France's Arkema has finalized the acquisition of Chinese company Casda Biomaterials, a leading producer of sebacic acid processed from castor oil. The transaction, together with the purchase of fellow Chinese firm Hipro Polymers, strengthens Arkema's position in Asia and in green chemistry, and is line with its on-going growth strategy, according to CEO Thierry Le Hénaff.

New Jersey-based Cytec Industries Inc posted net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2011 of US$41.6 million on net sales of $731 million. Included in the quarter are several special items that total $1.3 million of net income after-tax. Net earnings for 4Q 2010 were $48.0 million, with $40.7 million from continuing operations and special items that totalled $6.1 million of net income after-tax; net sales for the quarter were $700 million.

Denmark's Danisco has released its cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment for Soft-N-Safe™, its bio-based plasticizer derived from glycerine and castor oil, to add to ‘the weight of evidence’ that the company has produced in support of the product's benign environmental profile.