News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

May 12, 2020

Cabot reports Q2 FY 2020 results

Filed under: Carbon Black, Coronavirus/COVID-19, Uncategorized — Notch @ 12:04 pm

On Monday, Cabot Corporation reported results for its Q2 FY2020. Net sales declined to $710 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 from $844 million in the same quarter of FY2019, a drop of 16%. In Reinforcement Materials, volumes decreased 14% year-over-year as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted demand. The impact was most pronounced in Asia but impacted both Americas and EMEA demand at the end of the quarter. Offsetting the lower volumes were higher margins due to pricing and mix benefits in both the tire and industrial product lines. Net sales in the Reinforcement Materials business totaled $355 million for 2Q FY2020, down 20% from $445 million in the same quarter of 2019.

Changes in Reinforcement Materials volumes (Q2 2020 YOY change):

  • Global: -14%
  • Asia: -20%
  • Europe, Middle East, Africa: -13%
  • Americas: -8%

Performance Chemicals saw net sales of $245 million in Q2 FY2020, down 3.5% from $254 million in the same quarter of 2019.

Cabot held its earnings conference call on the results earlier today.

Tokai Carbon raises carbon black prices and changes price index for Japan

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:19 am

On April 13, Tokai Carbon Co. announced a price increase for carbon black in Japan of 6.0JPY/kg (US5.6 cents/kg) effective May 1, 2020. In addition, going forward carbon black prices will be revised using the crude oil index, as the index used in previous price revisions can no longer be used due to the impact of IMO regulations on bunker fuel oil sulfur content.

May 11, 2020

US Ford factories preparing to restart

Filed under: Auto, Coronavirus/COVID-19, Rubber — Notch @ 9:13 pm

On May 18, Ford Motor Co. will resume most North American vehicle production following the lifting of restrictions by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, with parts depots resuming operations on May 1.

The Flat Rock Assembly Plant in southeast Michigan and Oakville Assembly Complex in Canada will remain closed until May 25.

May 7, 2020

Orion announces Q1 results, sales down 12.7% YOY

Filed under: Carbon Black, General — Notch @ 9:17 pm

On Thursday, Orion Engineered Carbons released their results for Q1 2020, reporting a 12.7% drop in sales and a 10.5% decline in volumes relative to Q1 2019. Declines were sharpest in Rubber Carbon Blacks, which showed a 14.6% decline in sales and an 11.1% decline in volumes. Specialty Carbon Black saw a decline of 9% in sales and 8.8% in volumes during the quarter. Specialty black demand was down mainly due to “weakening demand in the North America and Western Europe regions predominantly in the automotive and pipe markets.” Rubber black demand was down due to a “sharp decline in sales volumes beginning in mid-March as tire and auto manufacturing plants closed due to COVID-19.” Orion also attributed lower Rubber Black volumes to a “strategy as part of 2019 contract negotiations to emphasize raising price closer to reinvestment levels over volume.”

A few key takeaways from the earnings announcement:

  • OEC reported that all of its plants continued to operate during the quarter but the company implemented a flexible production schedule whereby reactors are run for a few weeks to restock inventories, then shut down.
  • OEC plants were at about mid-40s percent utilization in April.
  • More than 75 percent of tire plants served by OEC were fully or partially idled in April.
  • OEC expects tire manufacturing plant restarts to occur slowly.
  • In contrast to the tire market, only a few specialty customers were idled.

OEC will hold its earnings call on Friday, May 8 at 8:30 a.m. (EST).

May 5, 2020

Tire production resumes at Toyo plant in Georgia

Filed under: Coronavirus/COVID-19, General, Tires — Notch @ 11:05 pm

On May 3, Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. will reopen its White, Georgia tire plant, ramping up gradually on a revised shift schedule.  The plant has been idled since March 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toyo is implementing additional health and safety measures based on CDC guidelines.

Enviro completes share issue to Michelin

Filed under: General, Rubber, Tire Recycling, Tires — Notch @ 10:54 pm

Scandinavian Enviro Systems AV (Enviro) has strengthened its financial position by completing a directed share issue to Michelin.  The investment was part of a long-term strategic partnership that provides Enviro with significantly improved conditions for the global establishment of recycling plants.  A final agreement is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

Bridgestone Iowa plant confirms 8 employees test positive for COVID-19

Filed under: Coronavirus/COVID-19, Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 10:10 pm

Bridgestone Americas Inc.’s agricultural tire plant in Des Moines confirms 8 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.  The company is addressing the outbreak using protocols established before Bridgestone resumed production on April 13.

Enterprise Crisis Management Team has been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and consulting federal, state and local officials to coordinate risk mitigation and business continuity strategies.

Bridgestone said the plant will remain in production but will continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust as necessary.

April 28, 2020

LG Chem announces expansion of Carbon Nanotube Production

Filed under: Carbon Black, General — Notch @ 12:45 pm

On April 27, LG Chem announced that it will expand carbon nanotube (CNT) production at its plant in Yeosu.  LG Chem will be expanding by 1,200 tons, increasing total production capacity to 1,700 tons.

CNT is a new material with superior properties used in batteries, semi-conductors, auto parts and aircraft fuselages.

The expansion is designed to target the rapidly growing global EV and CNT markets and accelerate LG Chem’s product structure advancement strategies.

Partial production resumes at one Apollo plant in India

Filed under: Coronavirus/COVID-19, General, Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 12:43 pm

Apollo Tyres Ltd. has resumed partial production at its factory in Perambra, India after government directives exempted its operations from lockdowns, according to a stock exchange filing.

The tire maker idled production at other Indian facilities in Kalamassery, Limda, Gujarat and Chennaiother amid concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, and will provide updates on the restart of production in these facilities as decisions are made.

Yokohama to restart Mississippi plant

Filed under: Coronavirus/COVID-19, Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 12:21 pm

On April 27, Yokohama Corp. of North America will restart production at its commercial tire plant in West Point, Mississippi, after closure on March 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yokohama will implement safety procedures based on CDC guidelines and local guidelines.

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