Additives for Polymers (v.2013, #11)

Tokyo-based Teijin Ltd has developed Fireguard FCX-210, a new type of phosphorus flame retardant. The company says the halogen-free product is suited for use in a wide range of resins, including styrenics, such as polystyrene and ABS, and polyamides where conventional phosphorus flame retardants are typically less effective. Teijin is in particular targeting automotive and electronics applications with the new flame retardant.

Germany's Sachtleben Chemie GmbH has introduced Sachtleben RU5, a new micronized white pigment with a blue undertone based on rutile-type titanium dioxide (TiO2). Unusually for a high-quality TiO2 pigment, the new product lacks an inorganic coating, which is said by the company to provide benefits in high-temperature processing.

Silicones specialist Momentive Performance Materials Inc (MPM) has launched a number of new silicones, catalysts and process modifiers for polyurethane (PU) under its long-standing Niax brand. The new products, which were introduced at PU China 2013 in September, target a range of applications, including appliances, automotive, bedding, carpet, construction, furniture and sports gear. In related news, MPM reports that it has made a number of investments worldwide in support of its PU additives product line, adding manufacturing capacity, technology resources and personnel to several sites in response to increasing demand.

French chemicals producer Arkema has announced a new molecule, Forane® 1233zd, for use as a low global warming potential (GWP) blowing agent for polyurethane foams. According to the company, the new molecule provides ‘exceptional energy performance and environmental benefits’ compared to existing blowing agents, such as hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and hydrocarbon molecules. The new product will be commercialized in 2014.

The Vinyl Division of Teknor Apex has completed a study of plasticizer migration as it may affect non-PVC thermoplastics that come into contact with components made of PVC in medical devices. The study focuses on four materials commonly used in conjunction with PVC in such applications: ABS, acrylic, polycarbonate (PC) and polystyrene (PS).

Huntsman Corp has signed an agreement to acquire Rockwood Holdings' Sachtleben titanium dioxide (TiO2) and performance additives businesses in a deal valued at US$1.325 billion. It will pay approximately $1.1 billion in cash and assume unfunded pension liabilities estimated at $225 million. The transaction is expected to be completed by June 2014 subject to regulatory and closing conditions. The acquisition will raise Huntsman's share of the TiO2 market from 10% to 16%, making it second only to DuPont.

Dutch company AkzoNobel has changed the names of its Nourymix® range of high-performance polymer additive concentrates. The new names for these products will be aligned with the company's Armoslip® and Armostat® brands.

Speciality chemicals company Clariant has acquired the Organic Pigment business of Jiangsu Multicolor Fine Chemical Co, Ltd (JMC), a leading supplier of several types of high-performance pigments and pigment preparations in China. As part of the project, Clariant also plans to build a new plant in Jiangsu Province. The financial details of the investments have not been disclosed.

At the Chemical and Ag Science Conference organized by Credit Suisse in New York on 17 September, Dow Chemical's chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris revealed that the company's plastics additives business is no longer for sale. The decision to take the division off the market was apparently taken because Dow did not receive sufficiently high bids.

In China, Cabot Corp, via its local subsidiary Cabot (China) Ltd, and joint venture partner Risun Chemical Co have completed and commissioned their new carbon black manufacturing facility in Xingtai, Hebei Province, China. Plans for the new state-of-the-art plant were announced in early 2011 with ground-breaking taking place about a year later in April 2012 [ADPO, May 2011 & June 2012]. The partners have invested approximately US$140 million in the new facility, with Cabot owning a 60% equity interest.

Barcelona-based pigment firm Nubiola has recently made a significant investment to triple production capacity for its heat-resistant yellow iron oxide Nubifer Y-7050. The company says the expansion is in response to the excellent acceptance of the pigment by the plastics and coatings industries since its launch two years ago [ADPO, October 2011].

In São Paulo, Brazil, Sun Chemical Performance Pigments has expanded its regional sales and service team, local warehousing, and lab support for its pigment products dedicated to the plastics, coatings, cosmetics, inks and specialities markets. The company describes the development as an ‘important and critical investment in Brazil and Latin America’.

In Saudi Arabia, Arkema has signed an agreement with local investment company Watan Industrial Investment for the construction of a production plant for organic peroxides, which are widely used as polymerization initiators in the thermoplastic industry. The facility, requiring an investment of about US$30 million, will be located at Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia and will be the first organic peroxide plant in the Middle East region, the partners say.

For the second quarter of 2013, Germany's Lanxess posted sales of €2.1 billion, down 11.7% compared to €2.4 billion for the strong second quarter of 2012. EBITDA pre-exceptionals declined by 45% and net income by 95% year on year to €198 million and €9 million, respectively. As a result, the company has revised down some of its short-term targets and subsequently embarked on a programme of efficiency improvements and cost reductions.

Songwon Industrial Group posted ‘solid operational performance’ for the second quarter and first half of 2013. Though revenues softened slightly, down 1.8% in 1H 2013 compared to 2012 to KRW347 billion (c. €241 million), gross profit increased by 2.4% from KRW64 billion to KRW65.6 billion, the company reports. EBIT more than doubled to KRW32.4 billion for the six-month period but net profit fell 23.5% to KRW8.24 billion as the gross profit was offset by increased investments in expansion, higher SG&A expenses and unfavourable foreign exchange impacts, among other factors.