IHS Chemical Week


Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 6 September

2:14 PM MDT | September 6, 2013 | By LINDSAY FROST

This Week in CW:

Total says it will permanently close its 340,000-m.t./year ethylene plant at Carling, France. The Carling steam cracker is expected to shut down in the second half of 2015. The announcement confirms recent press reports that questioned the economic viability of the cracker. The Carling cracker is “acutely loss-making,” Total says. Total will, however, continue operating the site and is preparing a €160-million ($210.8 million) investment by 2016 to develop new activities at Carling and restore the site’s competitiveness.

Rockwood announced that is has completed the sale of its advanced ceramic business CeramTec (Plochingen, Germany) to Cinven, a European private equity firm, for €1.49 billion ($1.96 billion). After all transaction adjustments, fees, and taxes, Rockwood has received $1.75 billion in cash. Rockwood announced the sale of the business in June as a part of a new plan to focus on its lithium business. The company also plans on divesting its Sachtleben (Duisburg, Germany) titanium dioxide and performance additives operations.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA; Helsinki) says that two-thirds of companies inspected as part of its enforcement forum do not comply with one or more of the provisions of EU chemicals legislation. The agency initiated a second enforcement project focused on the obligations of downstream users in relation to the European Union's Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (Reach) and the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulations. The enforcement project was carried out between May 2011 and March 2012 and was conducted in 29 EU member states or countries in the European Economic Area, ECHA says. A total of 1,181 companies were inspected, the majority of which were small or medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

Around the Web:

US employers hired fewer workers than expected in August and the jobless rate hit a 4-1/2 year low as Americans gave up the search for work, complicating the Federal Reserve's decision on whether to scale back its massive monetary stimulus this month, according to Reuters. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 169,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, falling short of the 180,000 Wall Street had expected and adding to signs that economic growth may have slowed a bit in the third quarter.

The seasonal carbon dioxide range is expanding as more is added to the earth’s atmosphere, according to Science Daily. The findings come from a multi-year airborne survey of atmospheric chemistry called HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO). Observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide made by aircraft at altitudes between 3 and 6 kilometers (10,000-20,000 feet) show that seasonal carbon dioxide variations have substantially changed during the last 50 years, the study shows.

The president of the European Central Bank issued a sober assessment of the euro zone economy, saying on Thursday that he was “very, very cautious” about prospects for growth and acknowledging concern about shock waves from the civil war in Syria, the New York Times reports. The central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.5% on Thursday, which had been expected after recent economic indicators showed the euro zone economy was beginning to recover, albeit weakly.

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