Rohm & Haas Biocides are benefiting on TBTO Ban.

Press Release: August 2003

The following is an extract from its mid year report. Sales are expected to be up over 10 percent from the same period a year ago. Demand for newly introduced impact modifiers for vinyl in Europe remains strong, regulatory changes such as the ban on tin in marine coatings continue to create good growth for our biocide products, and ion exchange resin sales into the pharmaceutical market are very solid. However, there are indications of slowing in the vinyl siding and water treatment markets.

Boric Acid Production to Increase by 2005.

Pest Control: August  2003 

Rio Tinto Borax, the world's leading supplier of refined borates and boric acid, announces it will increase its boric acid production capacity by 100,000 metric tons by 2005. This will bring its total boric acid production to more than 360,000 metric tons annually.

The company's primary boric acid plant in Boron, CA, produces more than 260,000 metric tons annually. Engineering and equipment upgrades will increase capacity by 20,000 metric tons by the end of 2003, and another 70 - 80,000 metric tons by 2005.

Growing global demand — driven by modest regional economic recovery, market growth, and new applications — fuels the increase in production.

Lonza feels affect of Difficult Economic Conditions.

Lonza Press Release: August 2003

For its 1H 2003 (ends 30 Jun 2003), the Organic, Fine & Performance Chemicals division of Lonza Group Ltd has reported net sales of SFR 438 M (SFR 492 M for its 1H 2002), operating profit of SFR 76 M (SFR 91 M). The following is a summary for the performance chemicals business which includes biocides:

The Performance Chemicals division (includes biocides) generated considerably lower sales in 1H 2003 owing to persistently difficult economic conditions and the negative impact of the unfavourable currency trends, as well as the divestiture of the glycerine plant in Painesville before the end of 2002. The business continues to focus on targeted end-use market segments such as personal care, wood protection, water treatment, health, hygiene and food. Higher sales were generated in these market segments, mainly in Europe and Asia. However, operating income was negatively affected by higher raw material and energy costs as well as pricing pressures. New products are under development for the personal care market, water treatment, pulp and paper, and the food industry. At Mapleton, IL, the expansion of production capacity for Carboquat - mainly used as a fungicide by the wood protection industry - will be operational in Jan 2004.

Growth for Particleboard in Asia

Australian Wood News: August 2003

The US$ 4 billion particleboard industry in the Pacific Rim will boom over the next four years, with demand outstripping supply and prices increasing by up to 20 %, claims a new study by BIS Shrapnel. This recovery from the current depressed market conditions will be driven by significant demand from China, Japan and South Korea, and relatively low investment in new production capacity.

The study’s authors Bernie Neufel and Peter Grist observe that the strong growth in consumption over the past five years has been driven by low prices and substantial new production capacity in the Pacific Rim and Europe.

“In view of the strong growth in consumption, and limited plans for capacity expansion, prices, profits and opportunities for trade and investment over the next four years will improve,” says Mr Neufel.

The study concludes that in the longer term, North Asia, particularly China, will be a major magnet for investment and trade, and that Southeast Asian producers are strategically located to take advantage of this opportunity.

The strongest growth in production will be in Southeast Asia where capacity will increase by 41% from 3.6 million to 5.1 million cub metres. Most of this growth will be in Thailand.

The strong growth in consumption will be driven by a number factors, including strong economies from late 2003, growth in exports of furniture from Asia, and continued substitution for other product such a plywood and solid timber. Particleboard production capacity in Australasia is some 1.35 million cubic metres annually, with 87% of production in Australia.

The development of moisture resistant (MR) particleboard for outdoor furniture or cladding could create a new market, but it will need to be tested, and consumers will need to be convinced of the effectiveness of this application. Opportunities may exist to substitute particleboard for diminishing supplies of plywood. Some producers are also now producing termite resistant particleboard flooring.

In 2002, particleboard prices ranged from $U105 per cubic metre in Thailand and Malaysia to $U168 per cubic metre in Japan. Prices will remain flat, or decline marginally, during 2003. Thereafter, prices will increase by 3-5% above current prices in 2004, and reach levels 20-25% higher by the end of 2007

Suez sells off Nalco for $ 4.35 bn.

European Chemical News: September 2003

French Utilities group Suez has sold its water treatment chemicals business Nalco to a consortium of financial buyers in a deal valued at $ 4.35 billion.