Synthetic rubber and chemicals company Asahi Kasei is relocating its European headquarters. Asahi Kasei Europe (AKEU) will remain in Düsseldorf, Germany, however in the second half of 2020 will move to a location in Düsseldorf harbour. In this new location, the company intends to consolidate its sales, marketing and R&D activities, thereby further enhancing its business approach to the European automotive industry.
Tyre manufacturers in the USA will benefit from the construction of what is said to be largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant ever built. Plastics, chemicals and refining company LyondellBasell broke ground on its new facility in Texas yesterday and will invest US$2.4 billion – the largest single capital investment in the firm’s history – to set up a plant capable of producing 470,000 tonnes of PO and a million tonnes of TBA per annum. The plant is expected to enter operation in 2021.
An agreement was signed today for the sale of Lanxess’ 50 per cent share in the Arlanxeo joint venture to its partner, Saudi Aramco. Should antitrust authorities approve the transaction, Lanxess will receive approximately 1.4 billion euros in cash after deducting debt and other financial liabilities for its 50 per cent share in the business, which is valued at 3.0 billion euros. Lanxess, which at the end of June 2018 had a net financial debt of 2.6 billion euros, says it plans to use the proceeds to strengthen its financial basis and reduce net financial debt.
On 29 September Lanxess announced plans to acquire US-based Chemtura Corporation, one of the major global providers of flame retardant and lubricant additives.
Under the terms of the two parties’ agreement, Chemtura shareholders will receive US$33.50 per share in cash for each outstanding share of common stock held, which represents an 18.9 per cent premium to the stock’s closing share price of $28.18 on 23 September 2016. The 2.4 billion euro transaction will be financed by Lanxess mainly through senior and hybrid bonds and is expected to close around mid-2017.
As of 1 July, specialty chemicals company Evonik Industries AG will have a new chief operating officer. Dr Ralph Sven Kaufmann will take the place of Patrick Wohlhauser, whose departure as COO and as a member of the company’s Executive Board was unanimously approved at a meeting of the Evonik Industries Supervisory Board on 25 June. Wohlhauser has served as COO since 1 January 2014 and been a member of the Executive Board since 1 April 2011.
US specialty chemicals firm Cabot Corporation has realigned its global business segments, a measure claims to have undertaken in order to improve efficiency and resource prioritisation. The realignment brings the business segments closer in line with the company’s recently announced management changes, and Cabot says an added benefit will be a stronger customer focus. The changes will be represented in Cabot Corporation’s financial results as of the first quarter of fiscal 2015.
Preparation for certain aspects of the restructuring awaiting Lanxess AG has already begun, and come at a time when the company is able to report improved year-on-year performance. The group-wide programme initiated by the company’s Board of Management on 24 July 2014 will see the number of Lanxess business units shrink from 14 to ten and will involve cuts to the company’s global administrative workforce. The business unit mergers will take effect 1 January 2015.
On May 15, Evonik Industries inaugurated a new building that will house its precipitated silica applied technology research for the tyre and rubber sectors. In doing so, the specialty chemicals company has combined the world’s largest precipitated silica production facility plus research and applied technology into a single site. The facility, located in Wesseling, near the German city of Cologne, was built with a “low tens of million euros” investment and was completed within 13 months. Although inaugurated today, 34 technicians have worked at the site since October 2013.
From 1 April 2014, global prices for Lanxess rubber chemicals will increase in response to raw material price rises and unfavourable exchange rate effects. The adjustment will impact all product lines, including Vulkanox antidegradants, Vulkacit accelerators as well as specialty chemicals such as bonding agents (Cohedur), retarders (Vulkalent), plasticizers (Vulkanol), zinc oxides (Zinkoxyd aktiv) and DBD based peptizers (Renacit). The price increases will range from €0.10 to €0.70 per kilogramme (US$0.15 to $1.00) depending on the product and region.
Lanxess shares that Matthias Zachert, named Axel Heitmann’s successor as Board of Management chairman following the latter’s departure from the specialty chemicals firm at the end of February, will resume his career with the company on 1 April. Zachert is currently chief financial officer of Merck KGaA and the functions he will take on at Lanxess are at present being performed by chief financial officer Bernhard Düttmann.
Effective 28 February 2014, Axel C. Heitmann will step down as member and chairman of the Lanxess AG Board of Management. His successor will be Matthias Zachert, who served as chief financial officer at Lanxess between 2004 and 2011 and is currently chief financial officer at Merck KGaA. Zachert will begin his new role at Lanxess not later than 15 May 2014. Prior to Zachert joining the Lanxess Board of Management, current Lanxess chief financial officer Bernhard Düttmann will carry out Heitmann’s responsibilities.
New Year, new prices. As of 1 January, German specialty chemicals firm Lanxess will increase prices for the rubber chemicals supplied by its Rubber Chemicals business units. The company says this move is necessary to offset raw material cost increases expected in the first quarter of 2014.
Prices for Lanxess’ Vulkanox (antidegradant) and Vulkacit (accelerator) rubber chemicals, two products used in tyre manufacture, will increase as of 1 July. Lanxess says the new pricing is required to offset higher production costs. The price increases will range between 0.05 Euro/kg and 0.20 Euro/kg (0.10 US$ and 0.30 US$), depending on the product and region.
US-based speciality chemicals company Cabot Corporation has announced reaching “another key milestone” in its technology licensing agreement with Manufacture Francaise des Pneumatiques Michelin for use of Cabot’s patented elastomer composite technology in tyre applications. Regular royalty payments to Cabot have now begun and will extend through fiscal 2022.
Use in tyres, particularly in harsh environments such as underground mines, is just one of a number of areas the product of a new partnership will be applied to. Specialty chemicals company Chemtura Corporation and machinery firm Caterpillar Inc. have announced their entry into a joint venture agreement to explore “novel applications” for Chemtura’s Duracast hot-cast urethane pre-polymer technology for construction and mining equipment.