Additives for Polymers (v.2012, #8)

The fibre glass business of Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries has expanded its portfolio with the addition of three Chopvantage chopped strand fibre products. The new products are reported to provide high levels of mechanical properties with excellent hydrolysis and heat resistance, and advantageous processing. They are also claimed to offer ‘best-in-class thermoplastic chemistry’ for applications where mass reduction is an important requirement.

AIJU, Spain's Toy Research Institute, reports that it is collaborating in a project to develop new colour concentrates, based on natural resources from agriculture, for use in diverse thermoplastics. The aim, according to AIJU, is to obtain high added-value masterbatches that, due to their highly innovative nature, will be ‘without competition’. The project initially seeks to develop high-performance concentrates that meet the technical requirements of the toy and auxiliary furniture sectors.

BYK Additives & Instruments, part of the Wesel, Germany-based Altana Group, has introduced several additive products in recent months, including its first carbon nanotube (CNT) dispersion. It has also opened its ultramodern laboratory in Wesel as part of the site's 50th anniversary celebrations.

Chicago-based HallStar has earned the Certified Bio-based Product Label from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for four of its plasticizer products. The label verifies that the amount of renewable bio-based ingredients in the products meets or exceeds prescribed USDA standards. Bio-based products are defined by the USDA as goods composed in whole or in significant part of agricultural, forestry or marine materials.

UK-based Bac2 has developed a latent acid catalyst that extends the pot life of urea formaldehyde resins from a few minutes to more than a day. Known as CSR150, the catalyst has been derived from related formulations that have already proven their efficacy in furan and phenolic resin manufacturing processes [ADPO, August 2010 & November 2009].

In Canada, the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) is collaborating with automotive supplier Magna Exteriors and Interiors on a project to integrate wood fibre into car parts. The partners say the initiative will help create jobs in the country's automotive, pulp and paper, and packaging industries.

To further strengthen the position of its proprietary Anox® NDB® non-dust stabilizer blends in the European marketplace, polymer additives major Chemtura Corp has formed a long-term strategic agreement with Belgium's Katoen Natie Group (KTN). This project, which is part of Chemtura's antioxidant and UV stabilizer growth strategy, will combine its proprietary technology with KTN's centralized distribution location and world-class service.

Polymer materials and solutions specialist PolyOne Corp has announced plans to open a new facility in South Africa via its recently acquired ColorMatrix subsidiary [ADPO, February 2012]. Located in Cape Town's Montague Gardens industrial precinct, the operation will serve customers throughout the African continent, initially supplying liquid colorants, additives and dosing equipment.

Holland Colours NV of the Netherlands and Italian company Gaypa Srl have signed an agreement to establish a joint venture in Indonesia. P.T. Holco Indo Jaya will focus on the production, sales and marketing of Holland Colours' Holcomer UHT product line [ADPO, November 2006]. Gaypa will contribute its production and process knowhow.

RAG Foundation of Essen, Germany, has indefinitely postponed plans for an initial public offering (IPO) for Evonik Industries, citing on-going volatility in financial markets caused by the Eurozone debt crisis. The decision comes barely a month after the company had said that it intended to launch the Evonik IPO before the summer break after obtaining the approval of the board of trustees for the necessary financing for the stock market flotation.

German speciality chemicals company Lanxess AG has opened a new subsidiary in Turkey's capital Istanbul as part of its plans to expand further in the Turkish market. The company reports that its sales in the country have nearly tripled since 2009, reaching around €125 million in 2011. According to Lanxess, the move will also extend its hold in the global automotive industry.

Private equity investor Gilde Equity Management Benelux has acquired Belgian glass beads specialist Sovitec from its former shareholder Value Enhancement Partners (VEP). The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. Gilde says it is committed to growing Sovitec's business through expansion of its geographic reach and exploration of new end-markets.

Global chemical distributor Univar Inc has signed a new agreement with German chemicals giant BASF SE to market and distribute the latter's plastic additives and polymers in Turkey. As with compatriot Lanxess (see p. 8), BASF is targeting the significant opportunities offered by Turkey's current and forecast strong economic growth.

For the first quarter of 2012, Switzerland's Clariant posted net sales of CHF1.95 billion (€1.62 billion), up 13% in Swiss francs and 18% in local currencies from CHF1.72 in 1Q 2011. Growth was largely driven by acquisitions. However, EBITDA, EBITDA margin and net income were all down after the company's anticipated ‘soft start’ to the year.

The global plastics additives sector is a mature industry in terms of both value and volume. However, the growth and development of end-use markets for plastics means that the consumption of plastics additives continues to increase. Global revenue for the industry reached US$39.7 billion in 2011 and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% to $47.8 billion by 2016, according to a new market report, Plastic Additives Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share & Forecast (2011–2016), published by Transparency Market Research.