We hope you had a nice Christmas and best wishes in 2010.


Industrial Metals: December 2009
Silver has outshone gold’s performance this year and will continue to do so in 2010 as the metal responds to the prospect of a surge in industrial demand, Angel Commodities Broking said.
Demand for silver in the coming year is expected to rebound to normal levels in 2010 as the emergence of key new markets for silver would help to boost prices further. Also, re-stocking of inventories for more of silver’s traditional uses will be a powerful demand driver in the near-term, Angel Commodities Broking’s Analyst Amar Singh said.
Silver prices are mainly driven by the fact that traditional industrial end-users of silver, such as the global electronics industry have in recent weeks begun to replenish severely depleted inventories, he said. During the financial crisis, silver inventories had run down sharply and it may take approximately six-months to fully rebuild the inventories to normal levels, Singh said.
An important factor to understand in the case of silver is that demand from the industrial sector tends to be quite inelastic. This means that buyers have few options and have to pay at prevailing prices.
Key driver for 2010 silver will be demand for silver-zinc batteries in ‘smart automobiles’ and an array of portable electronic devices. The widespread adoption of silver-zinc batteries is going to be one of the major drivers behind the rise in prices as it may absorb a high quantity of silver, Singh said.
The ever-expanding industrial market for silver includes LCD/plasma television screens, solar panels, and water purification, medical and superconductivity applications. Silver is also finding a critical new use in biocides where the white metal is used in chemical agents to kill dangerous bacteria, he said.
Silver’s importance has grown as a high-tech industrial metal and it has grown year-on-year since 2001 to the start of the financial crisis. This long-term trend in silver prices is set against a backdrop of a multi-year rally.
“We expect silver to continue to trade higher in the coming year as the demand-supply dynamics are beginning to reflect a return to a normal economy. We feel that silver is a unique metal in terms of performance as it wins whether the economy is in good or bad shape,” Singh said.
Demand for the metal rises in both situations because if the economy improves then the industrial demand increases and if there is a downturn then investors buy it as a hedge against the downturn in the economy.
“In the coming year, we expect silver to witness a bullish phase as new avenues of demand open up amid the existing traditional applications of the metal. We also expect investment demand along with industrial demand to drive silver prices higher in the coming year,” Singh said.


Coatings World: December 2009
The biocides market has been negatively impacted by a number of factors including oil prices, new housing starts, automotive sales and overall consumer confidence, according to Bernard Franc, business manager, biocides, Troy Corp. “When the building and construction industries are down, biocides used in paints, adhesives, wood stains, wallboard, and caulkings will be down as well,” he said. “Conversely, as consumers look to reuse/recycle to conserve energy and resources, the demand for more effective biocides in water treatment and dry/wet state preservation increases.”
“The number of new homes built and the number of renovations declined significantly, affecting paint demand,” said Celso Magri, strategic marketing manager, Dow Microbial Control. “This subsequently impacted the biocides market. The extent of this impact is different among regions, but we already see positive developments, especially in some rapidly developing economies.”
“We have seen a reduction in biocide consumption in line with the overall economic situation,” agreed David Tierney, business director, Arch Chemicals, Inc. “This has varied between the different segments with, for example, automotive applications affected worst. Many companies have taken this as an opportunity to rationalize the number of biocide products used and optimize stock holding.”
Lowering VOC levels continues to drive growth
The ongoing demand for low- and no-VOC coating systems continues to be the key driver for growth in the biocides market. Troy reported that it has recently expanded worldwide production of dry-film fungicides and wet-state preservatives to support projected volume growth in VOC-free products.
“Biocide suppliers are introducing solvent-free, water-based preservatives as alternatives to solvent-based ‘Legacy’ coatings to help coatings manufacturers worldwide meet lower VOC regulations,” said David E. Faherty, vice president marketing, Troy Corp. “Troy offers a comprehensive line of zero- and low-VOC dry-film and ‘in-can’ preservative products that meet a wide variety of needs. Also, changes in polymer emulsion chemistries used in coatings have created the need for more robust biocides that provide a broader spectrum of protection.”
According to Magri, the need for low- and zero-VOC coatings has driven the market for biocides in three ways. “Low- and zero-VOC systems are more susceptible to microbial contamination, and therefore the need for biocides is higher,” Magri said. “Further, more sophisticated and well balanced biocidal formulations are needed. Another point is that much more care must be taken regarding plant hygiene. Dow Microbial Control has been focusing on low- and zero-VOC systems for several years, and we are well equipped with a full product line for the preservation of paints and technical expertise to help our customers with plant hygiene.”
Complying with BPD
Regulations such as Europe’s recently enacted Biocides Products Directive (BPD) have presented a major challenge for biocides suppliers. As some actives are removed from the offerings because they will not meet the BPD’s standards, suppliers have had to develop biocidal products that are approved for use in Europe as well as in North America and the rest of the world. Companies that were proactive in compiling the necessary data have fared well under the new standards.
“Troy is addressing the requirements of the European BDP for a number of key active ingredients,” said Adrian Krygsman, director, product registration, Troy Corp. “Dedicated staff in our European and U.S. corporate offices coordinate compliance efforts under this Directive as well as other global regulatory initiatives that affect our business.”
Arch Biocides reported that it has maintained a leadership position within the industry in respect of the BPD and fully supported all of the company’s main actives through the review process established by this directive. “We are also pursuing a proactive dialogue with the authorities,” said Tierney. “This effort has required extra resources to be allocated for both toxicology and regulatory activities. These demands are expected to continue well into the next decade. As a result of these regulations, biocide suppliers have had to focus on developing new formulations for existing actives and blends.
According to Magri, Dow Microbial Control has one of the largest portfolios of molecules notified under the European BPD. “Although it is challenging to compile the information in the format requested by the authorities, we are in a privileged position in the industry,” said Magri. “We already had much of the information required for BPD as the data is needed to satisfy our own internal EH&S standards.”
Despite all the challenges facing the biocides market, manufacturers continue to deliver innovative products to meet both environmental regulations and their customers’ needs.
For in-can preservation, Arch has developed Proxel BZ Plus preservative, which combines two established actives as an alternative to formaldehyde and CMIT-based preservation systems.
Troy has recently launched a number of products to market, including Polyphase 2085 for low-VOC solvent-based wood stains and Mergal 753, an advanced, highly concentrated, environmentally friendly, wet-state preservative for paints and coatings that is VOC- and formaldehyde-free.
Dow has recently launched three products based on its LE (low emission) technology: Bioban IPBC 40 LE Antimicrobial; Bioban Ultra BIT 20 LE Antimicrobial; and Bioban BP 30 LE Antimicrobial. Additionally, Dow launched Rocima 200 in North America, which is a water-based dispersion for dry film protection, as a solvent-free alternative to its high performing Rozone 2000. In Europe, Dow launched Rocima 350 for dry film protection of VOC-free paints and Rocima 342, which is a good option for customers whose systems are not compatible with IPBC, according to the company. For in-can preservation, Dow recently developed several new formulations that are VOC-free or low-VOC, with or without formaldehyde releasers.
Dow formed a new organization, Dow Microbial Control, is a combination of Rohm and Haas Biocides and Dow Biocides. “We have set up a new structure to better address the needs of our customers on a local basis,” said Celso Magri, strategic marketing manager, Dow Microbial Control. “We know that different regions have different paint systems, climate and regulations, which need to be locally addressed. Therefore, we have created Customer Application Centers (CACs) to address those local needs with the speed and expertise required. All of them have fully equipped laboratories, which operate independently but on the same quality standards. Each CAC is led by a regional commercial manager, with a full team of customer application specialists and technical sales representatives. Operational marketing is also done on a local level. Finally, our global research and development for Microbial Control operates from three excellence centers: Buffalo Grove, IL; Spring House, PA and Buchs, Switzerland. As a result, we are capable of delivering effective anti-microbial solutions to our customers that exactly match their local needs with unprecedented speed and quality.”


European Chemical News: December 2009
Israel Chemicals Ltd. ("ICL") announced that it has completed six acquisitions over the past several months as part of its strategy to broaden the Company's product offerings, especially in the rapidly-growing water treatment and hygienic sectors. The acquired companies are well-established European-based manufacturers, distributors and marketers in these fields in developed and emerging regions.
The acquisitions were carried out by ICL's ICL-IP (Industrial Products) and ICL-PP (Performance Products) segments and will be integrated into their Water and Anti-Germ Units to enhance their product portfolios, marketing, sales and service capabilities.
Commenting on the acquisitions, Mr. Yossi Shahar, Executive Vice President Corporate Development of ICL, said, "These acquisitions are part of ICL's strategic focus to broaden its activities as a solutions provider and balance the Company's traditional fertilizers and specialty chemicals businesses by continuing to build our capabilities in the rapidly growing water treatment and hygiene sectors." The acquisitions were in the following areas:
Water Treatment
Medentech, an Irish company, develops and manufactures unique effervescent tablets that are used to disinfect surfaces and purify drinking water in water-challenged regions and to prevent the spread of infection. Its products are used by relief organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), hospitals, the UN and the private sector. ICL intends to leverage Medentech's technologies, solutions and global network of distributors to help build its drinking water business, including the ChloRun, a unique drinking water purification system developed by our ICL laboratories.
Primalab, Argochem, Merak, Hyproclean and Ekuline's Germany-based cleaning products division, produce a broad range of hygiene, cleaning and maintenance products and market them to companies throughout France, Germany, Eastern European countries, Russia and Ukraine in the food and beverage processing, catering, agriculture, health care, wine production and animal breeding industries. ICL-PP intends to integrate the business activities of these companies into its Anti-Germ International (Anti-Germ) business unit, a producer of disinfectants and cleaning substances for the food, beverage and farm industry throughout Europe, to strengthen its product portfolio, client base, sales and service capabilities and geographic scope.
About ICL
ICL produces approximately a third of the world's bromine and approximately 9% of its potash. ICL is comprised of three core segments: ICL Fertilizers, ICL Industrial Products and ICL Performance Products. Its major production activities are located in Israel, Europe, the US, South America and China, and are supported by major global marketing and logistics networks. ICL benefits from exclusive concessions to extract minerals from Israel's Dead Sea, a vast source of high-quality and low-cost potash, bromine, magnesium chloride and sodium chloride. ICL also mines phosphate rock from Israel's Negev Desert and potash and salt from its mines in Spain and the UK.


Oil & Gas: December 2009
Anpath Group, a manufacturer of safe and eco-friendly disinfectant products, has engaged its investment banking firm, Laidlaw & Company, to seek a strategic partner in the oil & gas industry for its new product GeoTru® Concentrated Biocide.  The Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, EnviroSystems, Inc. (ESI), produces disinfecting products designed to eradicate infectious microorganisms while offering a favorable safety and environmental profile.
GeoTru® is an environmentally correct biocide designed to control microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, and algae in oil and gas well stimulation fluids used for hydraulic fracturing and related oil and gas field water systems.  GeoTru® will control bacteria in drilling applications and serves to prevent the degradation of fracing fluids and gels used in well stimulations.  The product is easy to handle and ship because of its favorable toxicity profile compared to other biocides used for the same purpose, it is not reactive with typical down-hole chemistries, and is equipment-compatible.
The Company recently retained Laidlaw to provide financial advisory and investment banking services and to provide advice on strategic transactions, including possible technology licensing arrangements.  "While our engagement with Laidlaw is broad-based, we think it is important to focus on the substantial opportunity represented by the oil & gas market," stated J. Lloyd Breedlove, President and CEO of Anpath Group, Inc.
Anpath Group, Inc. (Anpath), through its wholly-owned subsidiary EnviroSystems, Inc., produces cleaning and disinfecting products that it believes will help prevent the spread of infectious microorganisms while minimizing the harmful effects to people, equipment or the environment. Visit www.anpathgroup.com for more information.
EnviroSystems, Inc. is focused on safe infection prevention technologies that the company believes will position the company in the forefront of the industry at a time when there is rapidly growing awareness of the critical need to prevent biological risks — both natural and man-made. Visit www.envirosi.com for more information.