IHS Chemical Week


Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 18 Jan.

1:28 PM MST | January 18, 2013 | By LINDSAY FROST

This Week in CW:

Dow Chemical has given indication it may leave ACC and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) over the groups’ support of natural gas exports. Dow told CW there is no confirmation at this time, but they disagree with ACC and NAM and believe the groups’ decisions on the issue are being influenced and dominated by the oil and gas industry.

Solvay announced a new business structure following the completion of integrating the newly-acquired Rhodia. Chairman Jean-Pierre Clamadieu said the aim is to simplify and decentralize the structure of the group. The company has a new logo—with 165 plants adopting the rebranded logo—and confirmed that the Rhodia name would disappear in all markets except Brazil. The company is spending €10 million ($13 million) over the next 2 years for the rebranding effort.

Hemlock Semiconductor, a leading polysilicon producer, is cutting approximately 400 employees from its 2 US manufacturing sites, as well as reducing polysilicon production in response to “significant” polysilicon oversupply and the threat of potential tariffs on sales into China—one of the company’s largest markets.

More companies reported earnings this week—including several Saudi companies. Advanced Petrochemical Co. and Saudi International Petrochemical Co. (Sipchem) announced fourth quarter and full year results—with Advanced reporting a 29% increase in net profit and  Sipchem reporting a 25% decrease in net profit. Reliance Industries’ sales were up 10%, to Rs963.07 billion. In the US, PPG saw a rise in sales and earnings due to strength in the coatings market, despite a weak macroeconomic environment, and a strong operating performance. H.B. Fuller reported a net income of $25.1 million, down 5% YOY because of increased expenses of 24%.

Around the Web:

Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol, in an interview with the Washington Post, discusses the “failure” of climate legislation with the idea that health care reformers spend most of their time leading up to Obama’s election studying past legislative failures, attempting to learn from them. However, environmentalists assumed they could build on previous successes while attracting republican support. As a result of this, Skocpol says in his in-depth analysis of the issue, that the climate movement was unprepared for the GOP’s sharp turn against cap-and-trade in 2008.

An article in Reuters says pay cuts could be the “new normal” on Wall Street, as major firms such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Deutsche Bank announced several cuts recently. JPMorgan slashed the compensation of its CEO by half due to botched trades that cost the bank over $6.2 billion. Goldman Sachs paid merely 37% of its 2012 adjusted revenue to its employees—the second lowest since 1999. Barclays and Deutsche Bank plan to cut banker pay by up to 20%, according to the article.

According to Scientific American, recent studies have found a nanomaterial with greater hardness than a diamond. Cubic boron nitride in many ways resembles a diamond, but can be compressed into a superhard, transparent form. Unlike most materials known for their hardness, it is not based on carbon but on a latticework of boron and nitrogen atoms. Stimulations have indicated that a rare crystalline form of boron nitride would resist identification better than the diamond if it could be synthesized into large samples—though more attainable forms already near the hardness of a diamond.

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