IHS Chemical Week


Chemical industry weekly news roundup for 14 December

2:19 PM MST | December 14, 2012 | By LINDSAY FROST

This Week in CW:

PPG Industries signed an agreement to acquire AkzoNobel’s North American architectural coatings business for $1.05 billion. The deal is expected to close in second-quarter 2013 and includes all manufacturing and distribution facilities, paint stores, product lines and employees of the business—including its distribution in the US, Canada and the Caribbean.

ACC has released its 2012 review and 2013 outlook for the US chemical industry, citing a softening of manufacturing and weak demand due to the recession in Europe. US chemical output, with the exception of pharmaceuticals, is expected to improve in 2013 with a 1.9% growth. Specialty chemicals and plastic resins will grow as the export markets are revived—and light vehicles and housing showed the biggest gains in 2013.

DuPont announced that it expects full-year 2012 earnings to be in line with their previous forecast—at the high end of its $3.25-$3.30/share guidance. The company is also expecting 2013 earnings to grow low- to mid-single digits and sales to grow in the low-single digits. Its board has also authorized a repurchase program for $1 billion of its common stock, however growth next year is expected to slow because of a weak titanium dioxide (TiO2) market.

Dow says it has filed permits with EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ; Austin) for the previously announced Freeport, TX complex—expected to produce 1.5 million m.t./year of ethylene. Construction is expected to begin in January 2014, and operation to start in January 2017.

Around the Web:

New research from the University of Delaware, according to Scientific American, says that by 2030, scaled-up green power could meet the demands of a large population grid 99% of the time. According to the study, a mix of onshore and offshore wind, with contributions from solar power, could provide reliable power flow during all but a handful of days in the hypothetical four-year period under the study. Scaling up renewable generation capacity proved more cost effective as well.

Chinese auto parts and technology company Wanxiang Group has won a bankruptcy auction to acquire lithium-ion battery-maker A123 Systems for $256 million—beating out competing bids by Johnson Controls, Simens and NEC, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Also, on 10 December, several Chinese firms agreed to purchase AIG’s aviation-leasing business for $4.26 billion—marking a new record for the value of a single US deal by a Chinese acquirer, according to the article.

More alternatives to common materials used in battery making are being discovered and, according to ZME Science, researchers at Rice University (Houston) and City College of New York have devised rechargeable lithium-ion batteries using a substance extracted from the madder plant as a cathode. The plant has been commonly used as a dye, but the organic molecules in the plant’s purpurin, or organic dye, have been discovered as a reliable cathode for lithium-ion batteries, according to the article.

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