IHS Chemical Week


Chemical Finance Digest, Mar. 12-16

10:52 AM MDT | March 20, 2012 | By VINCENT VALK

Topping the headlines last week, Wacker Chemie reported higher volumes and sales for 2011, but lower Ebitda and net income. The company also expects a further Ebitda decline for this year due to weak polysilicon demand.

In other earnings news, Braskem swung to a loss on declining thermoplastic resin demand and unfavorable exchange rates, while Nova’s profit rose 22% year-on-year, and Ube cut its earnings and sales forecasts.

In M&A news, private equity firm Quantam Kapital is planning to acquire BASF’s printing inks business in the Netherlands for an undisclosed sum. The business has 57 employees. Meanwhile, a Lanxess subsidiary has purchased Tire Curing Bladders, a U.S.-based tire bladder maker with $21 million in 2011 sales.

A new equity offering may hit the market in the coming months, as Evonik’s private equity owners say they may revive plans to IPO the company by the end of June.

NewMarket Corporation completed a major restructuring of its debt, with a $650 million five-year unsecured credit facility replacing an older credit line and some bonds and a mortgage loan. Meanwhile, Kraton Performance Polymers is issuing $100 million in seven-year debt at a 6.75% interest rate. The debt will not have an impact on the company’s ‘Ba3’ credit rating, says Moody’s, while S&P rated it in line with Kraton’s ‘BB-‘ rating.

Moody’s has also raised Huntsman’s credit rating, to ‘B1’ from ‘Ba3.’ "The upgrade reflects Huntsman's strong operating performance, improving credit metrics, and good liquidity profile evidenced, in part, by the lack of sizeable near term debt maturities until 2016," says Moody's analyst Bill Reed.

In macroeconomic news, U.S. industrial production was flat year-on-year in February, however, January’s figure was revised up to 0.4% growth. IHS Global Insight economist Michael Montgomery called the February report “a very nice-looking goose egg.” “History got better, which means even this goose egg is better than where most thought we would be, and several items raise the odds that February will look even better once the quality of the data improves,” he adds.

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