IHS Chemical Week
VIEWPOINT

A new US golden age?

6:28 AM MDT | April 4, 2014

While it seems reckless to regard multi-billion projects to add commodity chemical capacity in mature US markets as low-risk, can’t-lose investments, it is difficult to identify potential developments that can disrupt the US cost-advantage thanks to shale gas. As ExxonMobil Chemical president Stephen Pryor said in a keynote address (p. 11) at IHS Chemical’s recent World Petrochemical Conference (WPC), “[W]hat we are seeing is a recapitalization of the US chemical industry.”...


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Petrochemical assessment

Our cover feature this week, across four parts, focuses on petrochemicals as the sector prepares its big US gatherings: AFPM’s International Petrochemical Conference at San Antonio, TX, on 30 MarchApril 1 and the IHS Chemical’s World Petrochemical Conference at Houston on 25-27 March....

Making it in America

Sunil Kumar, former CEO of International Specialty Products, offered a convincing case for the durability of the US resurgence in manufacturing in his moving speech while accepting the SCI American Section’s 2014 Chemical Industry Medal at New York last week....

Japan restructuring

Asahi Kasei’s plans to close several petrochemical production plants in Japan and, along with Mitsubishi Chemical, move ahead with previously announced plans to consolidate naphtha cracker operations at Mizushima (p. 7) signals Japanese producers’ greater willingness to take more aggressive steps to address oversupply....

When hedge funds attack

Chemical makers must feel that they are being picked on. Last week brought yet another activist investor campaign as FrontFour Capital said that it intends to nominate four directors at Sensient (p. 4)....

Outlook steadies but slow

Fourth-quarter earnings and revenues were generally higher, and CEO comments to investors indicate that conditions are improving but still slow (p. 7, 10)....

Dow’s dilemma

The public call by hedge fund Third Point, led by investor Daniel Loeb, for Dow Chemical to consider a separation of its petrochemical business puts increased scrutiny on the company's strategy (p. 6)....

Soapers search for shine

Soap and cleaning products makers and, by extension, industry suppliers face headwinds in 2014, notably moderating economic growth in higher-growth emerging economies and cautious consumer behavior in mature markets, including expanded share and offerings for mid-tier brands (p. 17)....

Looking up in 2014

Global economic and chemical output growth are still short of robust but should continue to improve in 2014. Growth for chemicals globally will rise to 3.8% in 2014, up from 2.4% in 2013, according to ACC estimates....

Consolidating coatings

0ur cover story this week features PPG Industries, which is set to soon pass a key milestone in its portfolio transformation as coatings revenues exceed 90% of sales (p. 17)....

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