2009-11

FEICA GIVE AN OPINION ON THE BPD

SpecialChem: October  2009
FEICA, the Association of European Adhesive & Sealant Manufacturers is a multinational association representing the European Adhesive and Sealant Industry. It has support of 14 national associations and 16 direct and affiliated members.
FEICA welcomes the revision of the Biocidal Products Directive (98/8/EC); in particular the move from a Directive to a Regulation is an important step towards a harmonised EU market and level playing field for Biocidal Products. We agree that the scope should be extended to encompass treated materials and articles that are imported from outside the EU, and that contain Biocidal products that are banned in Europe.
FEICA has several concerns regarding the proposed BPD as follows:
We are concerned about the interactions and contradictions with other regulations such as REACH and CLP Regulations.
Too much information is required, much of which is of doubtful use to the consumer (e.g. H & P statements of the applied active substances will not be appropriate at the level of the active in the supplied article), and without minimum threshold provisions, will require multiple labelling of multiple biocidal products in mixtures. 
Art. 47 - Placing on the market of treated articles or materials -
Adhesives & sealants are often containing biocides but typically for their protection against microbial attack. They are subject to the EU classification & labelling legislation for chemical products i.e. COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures. All hazardous substances leading to classification as dangerous preparations must be reported on the label according to concentrations laid down in Annex VI of this EU Regulation.
In Article 47 of the draft regulation on biocidal products, no cut-off concentration is given for the reporting of biocides on the label of treated materials or articles. This would mean that even trace quantities of biocidal substances would have to be taken into account and would have to be reported on the label. This could for example be the case for residual biocidal substances from the production batch preceding the one in question. We therefore suggest to introduce cut-off values into Article 47.
A second point of concern is that some adhesive articles are quite small with very limited label space. We therefore suggest to allow the use of INCI names (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients) when reporting the biocidal substance on the label. This would have the advantage that only one language is required as INCI names are not language specific. INCI names are already used on cosmetic products and may be better known and understood by consumers. 
Finally, if to avoid the burden of the new regulation manufacturers remove the biocidal products from their products, the net result will be an increase in spoilage and hence wastage. For example, if a supplier of adhesive to the food carton industry were to remove or reduce the amount of biocide needed to protect the sterility of the final dried film in contact with food; then the amount and type of bacteria/fungal contamination that will migrate into the foodstuff will be a significant problem, increasing the burden on recycling depots and landfill through disposal of items that have been spoilt through microbial attack, which potentially raises other more serious H&S concerns.

HUNTSMAN AND LAFFANS COLLABORATE IN QUATS

European Chemical News: November 2009
Huntsman and Laffans Petrochemicals intend to leverage each other’s capabilities and resources for surfactants and amines manufacturing in India.  Laffans’ responsibilities would include manufacturing and raw material sourcing, while Huntsman’s contribution would include commercial infrastructure, branding, product range, global approvals, technology and manufacturing processes.
 “We are delighted, after several months of fruitful discussions, to have reached this stage of agreement with an established and reputable local manufacturer in the Indian market.  We expect this collaboration to be a significant step in our strategy to further expand our presence in the critical Asia Pacific region and to build support for our key global customers as they grow in India,” said Steve Stilliard, Vice President of Huntsman’s Performance Products division in Asia Pacific. 
He added, “The planned technology transfer will include specialty nonionic surfactants, glycol ethers and amines for a wide range of markets, including Agrochemicals, Household, Personal Care, Oil & Gas and Automotive Brake Fluids.”
“Laffans is very pleased to work with Huntsman, with its global experience in surfactant and amine technologies and markets, and we look forward to strengthening and consolidating this relationship in the future.” said Sandeep Seth, Managing Director of Laffans Petrochemical Ltd. 
Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals.  Its operating companies manufacture products for a variety of global industries, including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, textiles, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging.  Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging and, later, for rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman today has 12,000 employees and operates from multiple locations worldwide.  The Company had 2008 revenues exceeding $10 billion. 
Laffans was set up in 1994 under guidance & supply arrangement of its main raw material ie Ethylene oxide  from Reliance Industries Ltd. to manufacture Ethylene oxide derivatives at Panoli, Gujarat.   Laffans produces a wide  range of Ethylene oxide down stream products in India, manufacturing Glycol Ethers and its Acetates, Ethanol Amines, Phenoxyethanol, Theic, Brake fluids and Speciality Ethoxylates.  Its present revenues are in excess of USD 50 million and it is a market leader in many of its product lines

PRICE OF SILVER RISES

European Chemical News: November 2009
Silver may yet outshine gold in 2010 as spot prices for the white metal respond to the prospect of a surge in industrial demand. With a little additional help from investment demand, silver may even rally into the $25 an ounce range. So says Chintan Parikh, a commodity analyst at the CPM Group – a leading New York-based commodities research, consulting, asset management and investment banking organization. “Prices may spike as high as $25,” he says. At the very least, it should breach its most recent high, which was set at $20.79 in the spring of 2008, he adds.
Parikh says much of this impetus for higher prices is being driven by the fact that traditional industrial end users of silver, such as the ever-burgeoning global electronics industry, have in recent weeks begun to replenish severely depleted inventories.
In fact, silver inventories became so run-down during the financial crisis that it may take up to six months to fully rebuild them to normal levels. Parikh also notes that demand from the industrial sector tends to be quite price inelastic, meaning that buyers have few options other to pay prevailing prices.
Another key driver for 2010 will be the advent of new market places for silver, including pent-up demand for silver-zinc batteries in ‘smart’ automobiles and an array of portable electronic devices, Parikh says.
Also, the ever-expanding industrial sector for silver now includes LCD/plasma television screens, solar panels, water purification and even medical and superconductivity applications. It is also finding a critical new use in biocides (which use silver in chemical agents to kill dangerous bacteria, including superbugs).
The revitalization of industrial demand is an inevitable consequence of silver’s growing importance as a high tech metal. In fact, this has grown year on year since 2001 to the onset of the financial crisis. And it only dipped a meagre 1.4% to 447 million ounces in 2008.
This long-term growth trend is set against a backdrop of a multi-year rally in silver prices during this time frame, with gold’s poorer cousin refusing to be upstaged. It actually tripled in value to average US $15 in 2008 (in spite of its short-lived collapse to around $9). And it is continuing to trend higher this year now that supply/demand dynamics are beginning to reflect a return to a normal economy. All of this clearly demonstrates the price inelasticity of industrial demand.
 “Silver is a unique metal that wins whether the economy is going well or is in bad shape,” he says. “In the latter, the investor buys it as a hedge against the downturn in the economy and the markets. And if the economy improves, then the industrial demand increases.”
All of this is music to the ears of silver miners, who are already ramping up production to satisfy newly resurgent industrial demand for silver. One company on the frontlines of this push for greater output is Vancouver-headquartered Great Panther Resources (TSX: GPR), which has been operating its Guanajuato and Topia mines in Mexico since 2006.
Notably, Great Panther is one of only a small handful of companies in the world that are primary silver producers, since the vast majority of this precious metal comes as a by-product of mines that are mostly focused on extracting lead and zinc or copper.
Company President Bob Archer says that he believes that higher silver prices next year will significantly boost the company’s ever-improving bottom line. Great Panther became cash flow positive earlier this year after producing 1.8 million silver equivalent ounces (silver plus by-product metals, including gold, lead and zinc) in 2008.

LANXESS AT ASIAN COATINGS SHOW

European Coatings News: November 2009
LANXESS, with its broad range of environmentally friendly pigments and biocides, is well-positioned for growth in the paints and coating industry in Asia. LANXESS showcased these products at CHINACOAT 2009.
According to market studies, Asia Pacific is already the largest market for paints and coatings. In 2009, despite the economic crisis, the markets in China and India have stayed resilient. Looking ahead, steady growth has been projected for the region, where several countries currently have low paint consumption per capita. A demand shift toward green products has also been predicted.
LANXESS is well-positioned to fulfil these demand opportunities. It has a variety of high-performance, green products which are friendly to the environment and safe for human use. Additionally, the presence of LANXESS’ modern production and test laboratories in Asia means that paints and coating customers in the region benefit from short supply line, comprehensive technical support and efficient service.
The LANXESS Material Protection Products (MPP) business unit offers a range of ecologically friendly biocides—under the Preventol® brand—to protect paints and coatings from attacks by microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi and algae. From its portfolio, the business unit offers products with low toxicity, non-VOC (volatile organic compounds), non-formaldehyde, and compatibility with other components of coating.
“As more and more Asian countries undertake initiatives to lower emissions, stricter environmental standards will be introduced. LANXESS is well prepared for this,” says Dr. Wolfgang Oehlert, Head IPG business unit in Asia Pacific. “Our production facilities are already complying with all local, national and international regulations relating to safety, health and the environment.”
Dr. Michael Gerle, Asia Pacific Regional Manager for Industrial Preservation, MPP business unit, adds, “At LANXESS, the environmental and safety aspects of a product are critically examined for the entire life of the product. Excluding the risk of damage to people and the environment is of paramount importance.”
The MPP business unit has production facilities in China and India. It recently expanded its plant in India, so as to more than double the plant’s monthly production capacity. The business unit also operates two microbiology testing laboratories in Singapore and China. The laboratories work closely with customers to eliminate potential sources of contamination by microorganisms in their production process. Another important technical service offered by LANXESS is to ensure compliance with increasingly stricter regulatory requirements on the use of biocides.

ARCH REPORTS THIRD QUARTER RESULTS

Press Release: November 2009
ARCH announced sales for the third quarter of 2009 of $350.5 million, compared to $367.9 million for the third quarter of 2008.  Higher pricing and the benefit from the Advantis acquisition were more than offset by lower volumes and unfavorable foreign exchange. Segment operating income was $20.4 million in 2009 compared to $29.3 million in 2008.
“I am pleased by our strong third quarter results,” said Arch Chemicals’ Chairman, President and CEO Michael E. Campbell.  “We realized increased selling prices in several of our businesses and saw higher demand for our health and hygiene biocides. 
The following compares segment sales and operating income (loss) for the third quarters of 2009 and 2008 (including equity in earnings of affiliated companies and excluding restructuring and impairment):
Treatment Products
Treatment Products reported sales of $309.7 million and operating income of $25.2 million in 2009 compared with sales of $310.9 million and operating income of $31.2 million in 2008.
HTH Water Products
HTH water products reported sales of $128.1 million and operating income of $9.0 million for 2009 compared to sales of $111.9 million and operating income of $17.3 million for 2008. 
Sales increased $16.2 million, or 14 percent.   Excluding the impact of the acquisition of the water treatment chemicals business of Advantis Technologies ($17.0 million), sales decreased $0.8 million, or one percent.  Improved pricing across all regions was offset by lower volumes in North America and unfavorable foreign exchange.  Lower volumes in the North American residential business, principally due to unfavorable weather, were partially offset by higher volumes in Europe and South Africa.
Personal Care and Industrial Biocides
Personal care and industrial biocides reported sales of $77.8 million and operating income of $13.6 million compared to sales and operating income of $78.8 million and $12.3 million, respectively, in 2008.
Sales decreased $1.0 million, or one percent, as lower volumes more than offset improved pricing.   Reduced demand for industrial biocides used in antifouling paints and metalworking fluids, due to the global economic recession, was partially offset by increased demand for biocides used in antidandruff products and other health and hygiene applications, partly due to timing.  The improved pricing principally related to health and hygiene products.
Operating income increased $1.3 million as higher pricing and favorable foreign exchange were partially offset by lower volumes and higher plant costs related to the new manufacturing facilities in China.
Wood Protection and Industrial Coatings
Wood protection and industrial coatings reported sales of $103.8 million and operating income of $2.6 million compared to sales and operating income of $120.2 million and $1.6 million, respectively, in 2008.
Sales decreased $16.4 million, or 14 percent, as improved pricing in the wood protection business was more than offset by lower volumes and unfavorable foreign exchange in both businesses.   In the wood protection business, lower residential and industrial sector volumes in the North American and Asia-Pacific regions due to the continued depressed conditions in global construction markets were partially offset by higher global prices.  In the industrial coatings business, the lower volumes were attributable to poor economic conditions throughout Europe.
Operating income was $1.0 million higher than the prior year, due to the wood protection business, as improved pricing and reduced costs more than offset lower volumes and unfavorable foreign exchange.  In the industrial coatings business, lower volumes were offset by favorable raw material costs and cost-reduction initiatives.
Outlook
The Company says 2009 sales are expected to be approximately six to seven percent lower than 2008, as the contribution from the acquisition of Advantis and higher pricing should be more than offset by lower volumes and unfavorable foreign exchange. 
The expected decrease in the fourth quarter results is principally due to lower results for the industrial biocides and performance urethanes businesses.  The decrease for industrial biocides is principally the result of higher plant costs related to the Company’s new manufacturing facilities in China and unfavorable foreign exchange.