IHS Chemical Week


Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 9 August

11:15 AM MDT | August 9, 2013 | By LINDSAY FROST

This Week in CW:

Earnings season is beginning to slow down as more companies reported this week. In North American, Agrium reported net earnings of $747 million for the second quarter of 2013, down 13% year-on-year (YOY), including a pretax share-based payments recovery of $30 million, pretax proxy defense costs of $12 million and a pretax loss of $3 million on natural gas and other hedge positions, the company says. Rockwood reported second-quarter net income down 85.6% YOY, to $32.3 million, or 41 cts/share, on net sales up 7.8%, to $822.3 million. Elsewhere, Braskem reported a 12% increase in second-quarter 2013 Ebitda, to 1.05 billion Reais ($506 million). The Ebitda increase was driven partly by higher sales volumes and a better operating performance, Braskem says. Henkel reported a 6.7% increase in second-quarter net profit to €432 million ($577.2 million) on sales 2% higher at €4.29 billion. Brenntag posted lower second-quarter profits, and announced full-year earnings guidance that fell short of analysts' expectations. The company reported a 15% decline in profit after tax for the second quarter of 2013 compared with the corresponding period of 2012, to €69 million, on sales up 2%, to €2.5 billion. DSM posted net profits before exceptional items of €141 million in the second quarter of 2013, a 24% increase on the corresponding period of 2012. Sales grew 9% year-on-year (YOY) in the second quarter, to €2.5 billion.

President Obama this week signed an executive order to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce the risks of hazardous chemicals. Key points of the order call for improved operational coordination between state and local partners; enhancing federal agency coordination and information sharing; modernizing policies, regulations and standards; and working with stakeholders to identify best practices.

Mosaic says it has entered into a Shareholders' Agreement with Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma'aden) and Sabic to participate in integrated phosphate production facilities in Saudi Arabia. This follows the signing in March of a Heads of Agreement. Ma'aden, Mosaic and Sabic will own 60%, 25% and 15% in the joint venture, respectively. The estimated $7 billion greenfield project is expected to have a capacity of 3.5 million m.t./year of finished phosphate.

Yara International (Oslo) says it has closed the previously announced acquisition of Bunge's fertilizer business in Brazil, for $750 million, marking a major step forward for its growth ambitions in the region. Yara announced its plans for the acquisition last December and received approval for the acquisition in June 2013. Yara will consolidate the acquired business effective 1 August. 

Around the Web:

Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, has introduced legislation that would end mandatory arbitration in broker and investment adviser agreements with clients, but the bill faces an uphill battle, according to Investment News. The measure, floated Aug. 2, also would prohibit any restriction on class action claims. Ellison said the bill, the Investor Choice Act, would help level the playing field for investors.  

A genetically modified strain of rice might one day be used to prevent life-threatening rotavirus infections among children in the developing world, according to researchers published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, written about in the LA Times. The study concluded that genetically modified rice seeds helped to prevent and treat rotavirus-induced diarrhea in young lab mice. The seeds, which were administered to mouse pups as a powder and as a water solution, remained effective for up to a year at room temperature or when boiled in water, the study said.

According to Seed Daily, the world's croplands could feed 4 billion more people than they do now just by shifting from producing animal feed and biofuels to producing exclusively food for human consumption, according to new research from the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. Even a smaller, partial shift from crop-intensive livestock such as feedlot beef to food animals such as chicken or pork could increase agricultural efficiency and provide food for millions, the study says.

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