IHS Chemical Week


Specialty Chemicals Roundup; August 19-25

6:33 AM MDT | August 25, 2011 | By KERRI WALSH

Several specialty chemical have announced investments this week, despite warnings of an economic slowdown. Henkel says it has begun construction of a new adhesives factory in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park in China. The announcement comes after Henkel reported strong second-quarter earnings for its adhesives and sealants business, and said it expects strong demand to continue for its products for the remainder of the year. The plant will involve an investment of €50 million ($71.5 million), and it is expected to begin production at the end of 2012. Following completion, the Henkel facility will be the largest adhesives plant in the world with a production capacity of 428,000 m.t./year, Henkel says. The new facility will be the company’s main adhesives manufacturing base in China and the Asia/Pacific region, and will enable the company to cope with the rapidly growing demand in China and the Asia/Pacific, Henkel says.

Momentive Performance Materials says it is expanding silanes production capacity at Sistersville, WV and Termoli, Italy to meet growing demand, particularly in China. Capacity and financial terms were not disclosed. Süd-Chemie subsidiary Phostech Lithium (St.-Bruno, Quebec) says a recent Canadian Federal Court of Appeal ruling that the company infringed on certain Valence Technology (Austin, TX) patents related to lithium phosphates will not have a significant effect on operations and expansions plans. 

Previously announced specialty chemical deals are beginning to close. Ashland has completed its $3.2-billion acquisition of International Specialty Products (ISP). ISP will be integrated into Ashland’s Aqualon functional ingredients unit, more than doubling the size of Ashland’s highest-margin business. The combined unit will be called specialty ingredients. The company says its specialty ingredients unit is expected to contribute roughly half of Ashland’s Ebitda. Approximately half of Ashland’s overall revenues will now be derived outside of North America, the company says. The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Lubrizol by Berkshire Hathaway. The commission says the transaction does not raise competition concerns, because of the parties' moderate market shares and the presence of a number of credible competitors in the markets concerned.

Albemarle says it agreed to supply base oils made from renewable-based farnesene to Novvi (São Paulo, Brazil), a joint venture between Cosan S.A. Industria e Comercio and biotech firm Amyris (Emeryville, CA). Amyris and Cosan formed the jv in June to supply base oils to finished lubricant manufacturers. Albemarle plans on beginning production at its Orangeburg, SC facility "in the near future" using farnesene produced by Amyris.

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