Chemical Watch: November 2010
The European Commission has published in the Official Journal its decision not to include nine substances in certain product types in Annex I, IA, or IB of the biocidal products Directive. The substances, including formaldehyde and triclosan, and product type combinations have not been supported through the EU’s current review programme.
The decision says that although a number of companies indicated an interest in taking over the role of participant for the substances and product-types concerned, none submitted a complete dossier. As a result, the substances and product types concerned will not be included in Annex I, IA or IB of the BPD and biocidal products containing active substances for the product types indicated in the decision can no longer be placed on the market from 1 November 2011.
The non-inclusion decision on triclosan applies only to its use in type 3 products, "veterinary hygiene biocidal products" and takes effect because no dossier has been submitted for this purpose. Triclosan remains under evaluation for PT1, human hygiene biocidal products, so these uses are unaffected by the decision.


Environmental Expert: October 2010
Poland has failed to inform the European Commission about the transposition of legislation on biocides. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Poland is being sent a reasoned opinion for failing to transpose an update to the legislation on biocides into national law. Directive 2009/107/EC amends the directive concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market regarding the extension of certain time periods. Poland should have transposed the legislation into national law by 14 May 2010. As the legislation has still not been adopted, the Commission is sending Poland a reasoned opinion.
Background on updated biocides legislation
The new Directive extends the deadline for the assessment of existing active substances in so-called biocidal products which include disinfectants and insect repellants. Active substances are chemicals or micro-organisms which have a specific action on or against harmful organisms. A systematic examination of all existing active substances on the EU market began in 2000 and was due to finish by 14 May 2010. In order to complete this exercise, the deadline has now been extended to 14 May 2014.


Chemical Week: November 2010
 Ashland is getting out of material and chemicals distribution, selling the business unit, which accounted for 37% of its 2010 sales, for $930 million to TPG Capital in an all-cash deal. The deal is expected to close in March.
Part of Ashland for more than 40 years, the Ashland Distribution business had $3.4 billion in revenue in 2010, with approximately 2000 employees across North America and Europe, entering the Chinese market in 2009. For the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2010, distribution accounted for 37% of Ashland's sales, ahead of its Hercules Water Technologies (20%), Consumer Markets (19%), Performance Materials (14%), and Aqualon Functional Ingredients (10%) units.
In a presentation to investors, Ashland executives said the sale marks "a major step in transformation to a high-performing, specialty chemicals company." The new company will orient itself around four commercial units going forward: Ashland Aqualon Functional Ingredients, Ashland Hercules Water Technologies, Ashland Performance Materials, and Ashland Consumer Markets, which consists of its Valvoline motor oil brand.
Under these new groups, North America will dominate regional sales, accounting for 55%, followed by Europe (26%), Asia Pacific (12%), and Latin America/other (7%). In terms of sales and earnings, sales at Ashland sans distribution would be led by its consumer markets and water technologies businesses (31% apiece), followed by performance materials (22%) and Aqualon functional ingredients (16%).
TPG Capital is the global buyout group of TPG, a private investment firm founded in 1992, with more than $47 billion of assets under management. The company's investments in the energy, chemicals, and industrials sectors have included Kraton Polymers, Alinta Energy, American Tire Distributors, Armstrong World Industries, Belden & Blake, Copano Energy, Denbury Resources, Energy Future Holdings (formerly TXU), and Graphic Packaging, among others.
In the distribution arena, Ashland competes with privately held companies M. Holland and Muehlstein, as well as public businesses like A. Schulman and PolyOne. A. Schulman operates masterbatch, special powder, and engineered plastics units in addition to distribution. In 2010, the distribution unit was A. Schulman's third largest, accounting for 19% of sales behind masterbatch (48%), and engineered plastics (31%). It is largely focused on polyolefins distribution, having reached an agreement in 2010 with Dow Chemical to contract for all its grades of polyethylene and polypropylene to the Americas. In a company review, the company noted that approximately 35% of its business in Europe is contract distribution and that it is "moving in this direction in the U.S."


Textile News: October 2010
Internet sales channels are becoming ever more important and sales figures are growing as more and more customers discover the convenience of shopping on the Web. How this increasingly important sales channel can be used for the communication of product characteristics can be seen from the example of the cooperation with 3Suisses, who has been a customer of SANITIZED AG for many years.
Even today, more than 40 % of the orders at 3Suisses France originates online, even though the electronic catalogue was only launched at the start of 2010. With more than 150 million visitors, 3suisses.fr is one of the top websites in France (after eBay, French Railways and Amazon).
The Internet is increasingly establishing itself as a source of information for purchasing decisions. In order to find out more details about the benefits and the features of the products, quite a few customers carry out research online before making a purchase. Excellent use can be made of this development to promote the benefits of the antimicrobial Sanitized® finish.
The cooperation with 3Suisses is a successful example of the integration of helpful information for the end consumer. Working together with the customers, special tools have been developed that are customized to the circumstances of  the website: In the website, the bedding items that have been finished with Sanitized® (pillows, pillow cases, duvets or mattress protectors) are marked with the Sanitized® logo, for example. In addition, pop-ups provide detailed information about the Sanitized® hygiene function. Short, simple texts and an animated graphical presentation of the function compress the subject in a professional manner that is still easily understood by a lay public. This type of explanatory information creates a great deal of attention for the products offered by 3Suisses and the Sanitized® brand. This cooperation has been agreed exclusively with SANITIZED.


Analyst Report: November 2010
Arch Chemicals reported third quarter results on November 2. Sales were up 4.3% year-over-year. The Biocides Products division, which accounts for 86% of total sales, saw a modest gain of 2.7%. The Performance Products segment, which makes up the other 14%, increased a solid 14.7% over the same period due to higher pricing and volumes.
Meanwhile, the gross margin improved from 28.3% of sales to 30.1%. This helped drive operating income 7.0% higher in the quarter.