IHS Chemical Week


Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 9 Nov.

November 9, 2012 | By LINDSAY FROST

This Week in CW:

As earnings season beings to slow down, several companies are still reporting varied third quarter results. In the US, Georgia Gulf reported a rise in net income due to strengthening vinyls sales, while Westlake Chemical also had a rise in net income due to higher sales volumes across most of their product lines—especially in PVC and other building products. IFF reported a large decline in earnings, as did Koppers because of high raw material costs. Chemtura’s earnings fell slightly below estimates. In Asia, PTT Global says they more than doubled their profits, DIC’s earnings and sales dropped because of the global economic slowdown, and both Toray and DSM had a fall in profits as well.

BASF announced a number of organizational changes this week, including a reduction in the number of business segments from six to five. As a part of the changes, BASF is also creating a new performance materials division within the current functional solutions segment that will be alongside catalysts, construction chemicals and coatings. Meanwhile, the company also inaugurated its first innovation campus and its new Greater China headquarters at Pudong, Shanghai. The expansion cost €55 million and it will ultimately employ 2,500 people. It is also building a €150 million emissions catalysts facility at Sroda Slaska, Poland—the company’s largest facility in Europe.

Proposition 37, a ballot measure that aimed to require food manufacturers to label all food containing more than 0.5% genetically modified (GM) ingredients, has been voted down in California. Several industry groups, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Washington) and CropLife America (Washington), opposed the labeling because they say it would have caused unnecessary concerns and costs for consumers.

LyondellBasell is planning to expand two Texas ethylene plants in a second round of US ethylene debottlenecks, including a 250-million lb/year expansion of its Channelview, TX cracker in 2015. The company is also studying a larger expansion of its Corpus Christi, TX cracker.

Around the Web:

According to Science Insider, the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology will experience a shift after ten members were defeated in this year’s elections or are retiring. The panel is also expected to get a new chair – Lamar Smith (R-TX) is the favorite to win, however, James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) has expressed interest in retaining the position.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released its Low Carbon Economy Index 2012, a measure of the rate of change in global carbon intensity. In the report, PwC says that the world has not reduced its carbon emissions enough a single year since 1950 to meet the UN's 2-degree warming target. Even doubling the rate of reduction would still lead to emissions consistent with six degrees of warming by 2050, PwC says.

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered new ways to reduce toxicity in the foundry industry, which produces metal castings used in water pumps, jet engines, and railroad and automobile parts. The scientists say the use of furan resins and phenol formaldehyde resins emit toxic fumes during the molding process, and using sugar instead to bind sand together to create the molds is a more cleaner, inexpensive alternative.

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