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Business News December 2017

By Mary Page Bailey |

Air Products signs agreement for coal-to-syngas facility in China

November 13, 2017 — Air Products (Lehigh Valley, Pa.; and Shaanxi Future Energy Group Co. (SFEC) signed an agreement for a $3.5-billion coal-to-syngas production facility to be built in Yulin City, China. The parties plan to jointly build, own and operate air separation, gasification and syngas cleanup systems. The air separation units are expected to produce approximately 40,000 metric tons (m.t.) per day of oxygen to support the production of about 2.5 million Nm 3 /h of syngas.


Toray to build carbonizationplant in Mexico

November 10, 2017 — Toray Industries, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan; developed a new variety of regular-tow carbon and plans to build a carbonization facility for mass production at the company’s plant in Jalisco, Mexico, operated by its U.S. subsidiary Zoltek Companies, Inc. The new plant is expected to start production at the end of 2018.


Abengoa to build a waste-to-biofuels plant in Nevada

November 9, 2017 — Abengoa (Seville, Spain; will construct a plant, to be operated by Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc., which will produce biofuels from municipal solid waste (MSW) using gasification technology. Located in Nevada, this plant is said to be the first of its kind in the U.S. Abengoa will be responsible for the engineering, design, construction and commissioning of the plant, which will have capacity to produce 10 million gal/yr of biofuels.


Covestro announces global capacity expansion for polyurethane dispersions

November 6, 2017 — Covestro AG (Leverkusen, Germany; has begun operations at a new production facility for aqueous polyurethane dispersions (PUDs) at its Dormagen, Germany site and recently expanded PUD production in Barcelona, Spain. Covestro is also building a new facility in China, as well as planning to resume production in the U.S. while also modernizing and expanding facilities there.


Ascend Performance Materials to increase global production capacity

November 3, 2017 — Ascend Performance Materials (Houston; plans to increase production capacity across its intermediate chemicals and polymers portfolio by 10–15%. With this project, Ascend will increase capacity of adiponitrile (ADN), hexamethylene diamine (HMD), adipic acid and selected polymers through 2018.


CB&I wins contract for new ethlyeneplant at HMEL refinery in India

November 2, 2017 — CB&I (The Woodlands, Tex.; was selected by HPCL Mittal Energy Ltd. (HMEL) for the license and basic engineering of a mixed-feeds ethylene plant with a capacity of 1,200,000 m.t./yr for the Guru Gobind Singh petroleum refinery in Bathinda, India. The plant has the capability of being expanded to 1,500,000 m.t./yr. The scope of work includes recovering refinery offgas and integration with the ethylene plant, pyrolysis gasoline hydrogenation and detailed engineering for highly selective cracking heaters.


Clariant to build cellulosic ethanol plant in Romania

October 31, 2017 — Clariant (Muttenz, Switzerland; plans to build a full-scale cellulosic ethanol plant using its Sunliquid technology. The new plant will have a production capacity of 50,000 m.t./yr, and will be built in southwestern Romania. Groundbreaking is planned in 2018, with commercial operations slated to begin in 2020. At full capacity, the new plant will process approximately 250,000 m.t./yr of agricultural residues sourced from local farmers.


Kemira to expand production of polymers for enhanced oil recovery

October 26, 2017 — Kemira Oyj (Helsinki, Finland; will invest approximately €30 million to expand the manufacturing capacity of polymers used for chemical-enhanced oil recovery (CEOR). Additional capacity will be built at Kemira’s existing manufacturing site at Botlek, the Netherlands. The expansion is expected to begin commercial operation by the beginning of 2019.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Mitsui Chemicals to acquire Asahi Kasei’s Sunvieo TPS business

November 13, 2017 — Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Tokyo; plans to acquire Asahi Kasei Corp.’s (Tokyo; business for Sunvieo thermoplastic styrene (TPS) elastomer. In acquiring Sunvieo, Mitsui Chemicals will add TPS to its lineup, allowing the company to respond to a wider range of applications, including automotive and consumer products.


Indorama to acquire PTA assets in Portugal

November 10, 2017 — Indorama Ventures Public Ltd. (IVL; Bangkok, Thailand; will acquire the assets of Artlant PTA S.A. Artlant operates a purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in the Sines Industrial Complex in Portugal, which has a production capacity of 700,000 m.t./yr. IVL will also acquire the assets of adjacent utilities provider, Artelia Ambiente, S.A., which provides electricity, steam, demineralized water, wastewater treatment and hydrogen.


Solvay completes acquisition of European Carbon Fiber

November 8, 2017 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; completed the acquisition of European Carbon Fiber GmbH (ECF), a German producer of precursor materials for large-tow polyacrylonitrile (PAN) carbon fibers. With this acquisition, Solvay will continue its focus on adopting composites into the aerospace and automotive sectors.


Tata Chemicals sells Phosphatic Fertilizers business to Indorama

November 8, 2017 — Tata Chemicals Ltd. (TCL; Mumbai, India; announced the sale of its Phosphatic Fertilizers business, as well as the trading business comprising bulk fertilizers and non-bulk fertilizers, to IRC Agrochemicals Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Indorama. The transaction involves the transfer of the Haldia plant, along with other assets. The total sum in consideration for the Phosphatic business is around $58 million.


Total divests JV assets in Italy; acquires ERG lubricants activities

November 6, 2017 — Total S.A. (Paris, France; and ERG S.p.A. (Genoa, Italy; have signed an agreement with API Group (Rome, Italy; to sell their fuel marketing and refining assets in the TotalErg JV. This transaction completes the sale of all TotalErg’s assets for around €750 million. In parallel, Total is buying out ERG’s stake in the lubricants activities of the JV.


Cabot to acquire Québec-based masterbatches producer

November 2, 2017 — Cabot Corp. (Boston, Ma.; entered into an agreement to purchase Tech Blend, one of the largest producers of black masterbatches in North America, for approximately $64 million. Tech Blend currently produces black masterbatches (also known as concentrates) for applications in the automotive, infrastructure and agricultural industries at its manufacturing facility in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Canada.


Invista agrees to divest Apparel & Advanced Textiles business

November 1, 2017 — Invista (Wichita, Kan.; has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Apparel & Advanced Textiles business to Shandong Ruyi Investment Holdings. Closing is expected by mid-2018. The transaction includes several products, including polytetramethylene ether glycol (PTMEG), 1,4 butanediol (BDO) and tetrahydrofuran (THF) marketed under the Terathane brand.

Mary Page Bailey

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