Joint Venture Transfer
Huntsman has agreed to take over Basic Chemical Industries Ltd.’s majority ownership in their Arabian Polyol Company (APC) joint venture in Saudi Arabia. The joint venture manufactures and sells MDI-based polyurethane systems in the Gulf countries. With the ownership transfer, the company will be re-named to Huntsman APC. It will be based at the existing Dammam site on Saudi Arabia’s east coast, supported by a Huntsman sales office in Dubai.
Finland’s chemical workers have agreed to a pay deal that includes an initial lump-sum payment and stepped wage increases over 33 months. A blanket wage increase of 3.4% will take effect in October, followed by a 2.9% increase in September 2008 and then a 1.5% increase in May 2009. This agreement covers 20,000 core workers, but is expected to trigger similar settlements with industries connected with chemicals.
Iran is still planning to form a joint venture with India to run an olefins project. The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) says that plans to do a petrochemicals joint venture with India have been in the works for several years. Discussions have been underway, with Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) likely to be the joint venture candidate.
FCI acquired Smartag, a specialized player in RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags manufacturing. Located in Singapore, Smartag develops RFID tags for focused applications like library management, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, etc. With this acquisition, FCI can offer its customers solutions from antenna design to tag manufacturing for certain high-engineering asset tracking applications.
Methanex is operating only one of its four Chilean plants as problems at its suppliers in Argentina have disrupted natural gas supply. A labor dispute affected one natural gas supplier while another supplier is currently doing technical testing.
Akzo Nobel is accelerating its growth in China. It just opened two coatings plants – in Langfang and Taixing – and is planning further expansions. It is also investing in its plant in Ningbo and aims to implement two or three additional projects at the site in the next few years. The company expects to double its investments in China to $1 billion during the next five years.
BASF may build a second MDI plant in China. It has signed a memorandum of cooperation with Chongqing Chemical and Pharmaceutical Holding for a 400,000 ton/year crude MDI plant in Chongqing, western China. BASF will now carry out an in-depth evaluation of the competitiveness of the location, with startup planned for 2010 or later.
Egypt’s Trust Chemical Industries (TCI), owned by India’s Sanmar Group, plans to start up its integrated vinyl complex in Port Said, Egypt in 2009. The complex will produce 200,000 tons/year of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), 400,000 tons/year of VCM (vinyl chloride monomer) and 200,000 tons/year of EDC (ethylene dichloride). About 200,000 tons/year of VCM will be used by the PVC plant. The remaining 200,000 tons/year of VCM will be shipped to India to feed a 200,000 ton/year PVC project that Chemplast Sanmar will start up in Cuddalore in July 2008.