Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 21 March
12:56 PM MDT | March 21, 2014 | By LINDSAY FROST
This Week in CW:
Dow Chemical said at an investor meeting in Saudi Arabia on 19 March that it has increased its asset sale target by $1.5–2.0 billion, lifting expected proceeds to $4.5–6.0 billion. This target includes the previously announced divestment of chlor-alkali and epoxy chain businesses. Dow says it expects pretax proceeds of $3–4 billion from the divestment of those businesses, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. Dow says it expects to generate a further $1.5–2.0 billion in pretax proceeds from divestment of other "nonstrategic businesses." The successful sale of those assets would bring Dow's total divestment proceeds since 2006 to nearly $15 billion. DuPont said on 10 March that it still expects to post full-year 2014 operating earnings of $4.20-$4.45/share despite “challenged” first-quarter earnings and revenue growth due to winter storms in North America and business disruptions in the Ukraine. DuPont’s outlook calls for growth of 8-16% above reported full-year 2013 operating earnings of $3.88/share. DuPont reaffirmed the outlook in a regulatory filing after market close on 10 March, in advance of planned investor meetings scheduled this week.
Trinseo, formerly Styron, filed for an initial public offering worth up to $200 million on 20 March, nearly three years after the company filed for a $400 million that never commenced. The exact date when Trinseo plans to sell its shares and the price and number of the shares have not been disclosed. Bain Capital (Boston) owns an 89.5% share in Trinseo, while Dow Chemical Europe owns 6.8%. Trinseo had been the styrenics division of Dow until it was sold to Bain in 2010.
CF Industries announced today that it has completed the previously announced sales of its phosphate business to Mosaic for $1.4 billion—approximately $1 billion net of taxes and other adjustments, the company says. The agreement was announced on 28 October 2013. CF, as a part of the agreement, will supply Mosaic with its share of the ammonia produced by the company’s 50% owned production facility in Trinidad and Tobago. Also, the company has signed a long-term supply agreement with Mosaic to supply 600,000–800,000 m.t./year of ammonia for up to 15 years from its Donaldsonville, LA, nitrogen complex.
ACC today released its monthly chemical production regional index (CPRI), which measures production by global region, up 0.5% on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis in February. ACC says this indicates that the good start to 2014 continues. Year-over-year (YOY), the index was up 4.9% on a 3MMA basis. During February, capacity utilization in chemistry rose 0.3%, to 83.6%—the highest level in two years.
Around the Web:
According to the Guardian, Exxon Mobil has agreed for the first time to report on how climate change could affect its business model, campaign groups say. The groups said on Thursday that Exxon had agreed to prepare a public report on “carbon asset risk”—the prospect that the company might be forced to leave some of its oil and gas in the ground as a result of climate regulations. The campaigners said the move by Exxon was an important step forward in getting companies to recognize that oil, gas and coal holdings could potentially drop in value under climate regulations.
Nanostructured capsules could bring about paints and electronic displays that never fade, according to Phys.org. Researchers led by Vinothan N. Manoharan at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences want to recreate the feather effect, giving man-made materials structural color. Producing structural color is not easy, though—it often requires a material's molecules to be in a very specific crystalline pattern, like the natural structure of an opal, which reflects a wide array of colors. But the pores on the cotinga's feathers lack a regular order and are therefore a prime target for imitation.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose, rebounding from its worst week since January, as data showing a gain in industrial production boosted optimism over the economy and investors watched developments in Ukraine, according to Bloomberg. Factory production in the US rose in February by the most in six months, indicating the industry started to recover from severe winter weather. The 0.8% gain at manufacturers followed a revised 0.9% slump in the prior month that was the biggest since May 2009, according to Federal Reserve data.
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