News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

November 12, 2018

BKT budgets $200 million to upgrade, expand capacities in India

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tires — Notch @ 12:02 pm

Off-highway tire maker Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) is budgeting more than $200 million to upgrade and expand capacity for tires and carbon black at plants in India.

The Mumbai-based company disclosed the plans, affecting its plants in Bhuj and Waluj, in an investors presentation for the firm’s fiscal 2019 second quarter.

The investments in India are in addition to the $100 million BKT is committing to build a tire plant in the U.S. and include upstream component supply that will impact the U.S. investment.

The company plans to invest $72.5 million to replace a 30-year-old farm/industrial/OTR tire plant in Waluj, Maharashtra, with an expanded factory on a 22-acre greenfield site nearby. The plant’s capacity will remain at roughly 30,000 metric tons per year but at a facility with its own co-generation power plant and warehousing. The current plant is size-restricted and operating at “sub-optimal” levels, BKT said.

They also plan to invest $72.5 million to add 5,000 metric tons of annual production capacity at the 5-year-old Bhuj, Gujarat, factory, in particular for larger sizes, along with a rubber mixing plant and additional warehousing. The investment includes the addition of building equipment for the larger-sized tires.

A third investment, of $61.6 million, is designated for the construction of a carbon black plant on the grounds of the Bhuj factory complex in northwest India. The new plant, rated at 140,000 metric tons a year at full capacity, will supply the new U.S. plant in addition to BKT’s Indian facilities, BKT said. The plant will start producing in March 2019 at an annualized rate of 60,000 tons and ramp up to full capacity by March 2021.

Read the full report here.

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BKT plans $100 million investment for U.S. tire plant

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 11:49 am

Off-highway tire manufacturer Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) is budgeting $100 million for the new tire plant it is planning to build in the U.S., the company disclosed this week.

The new factory will be BKT’s first factory outside of India and fifth tire plant overall. BKT is India’s fifth largest tire maker and thirty-ninth worldwide, based on fiscal 2017-18 sales of $692 million.

The company said it expects the new plant to open in the first half of 2021 with a capacity of 20,000 metric tons per year. That’s smaller than any of the company’s four plants in India. By comparison, the company’s newest factory, in Bhuj, Gujarat, is rated at 130,000 tons per year.

In a November investors presentation, BKT said the new plant would allow it to accelerate its business with North American equipment makers by being able to offer faster deliveries as well as enable it to export to neighboring countries “in a more competitive manner.”

BKT is represented in North America by BKT USA Inc. in Fairlawn, Ohio.

Read the full report here.

Black Bear secures $5.7 million to advance recovered carbon black technology

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tire Recycling — Notch @ 11:22 am

Dutch cleantech company Black Bear Carbon B.V. has raised $5.7 million from venture capital firms Capricorn Venture Partners and Particon. This funding, combined with the money it raised in early September, will support advancements in its recovered carbon black (rCB) technology as well as the global roll-out of its “cradle-to-cradle” system.

Black Bear has developed a “tire to carbon black” technology with a unique carbonization process to produce rCB from end-of-life tires.

Capricorn Venture Partners is an independent European manager of venture capital and equity funds, investing in innovative European technology companies. It is based in Leuven, Belgium.

Particon is an independent venture capital firm in Limburg, Netherlands.

Read the full press release here.

November 6, 2018

Orion acquires French acetylene black producer

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 6:20 pm

On November 1, 2018, Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire acetylene carbon black manufacturer Société du Noir d’Acétylène de l’Aubette, SAS [SN2A] from LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V. and its French affiliate. SN2A was founded in 1987 and is headquartered at Berre l’Etang, near Marseille, France.

Acetylene black is an ultra-pure premium specialty carbon black distinguished by its high electrical and thermal conductivity. Lithium-ion batteries and high-end electrical cables are key applications for this material.

“SN2A brings us a skilled team, proven technology and an operating plant. With this platform we are going to significantly strengthen our capabilities in the lithium-ion battery market and broaden our position in other attractive markets,” said Corning F. Painter, Chief Executive Officer of Orion Engineered Carbons. “This bolt-on acquisition is a perfect fit with Orion’s focus on Specialty Carbon Blacks. We look forward to welcoming the SN2A team to Orion and bringing Acetylene Black into our portfolio.”

The agreement with LyondellBasell includes provisions for a secured long-term feedstock supply. Orion plans to strengthen production capabilities at the Berre l’Etang facility.

The transaction closed on October 31, 2018.

October 31, 2018

Solvay Silica wins Michelin Supplier Award 2018

Filed under: Silica, Tires — Notch @ 10:58 am

Solvay has won the Michelin Supplier Award 2018 for supplier excellence in quality, innovation and corporate social responsibility, underlining the strong partnership between Michelin and Solvay. Solvay manufactures and supplies highly dispersible silica for energy saving tires.

Solvay, selected from about 40,000 companies worldwide, received the Award from Jean-Dominique Sénard, CEO of Michelin, at the company’s headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

“Solvay’s Silica teams are geared towards finding out and knowing what customers value, to deliver the innovations that meet their demands for safe, fuel-efficient tires and through all this, build a relationship of trust. We are proud that Michelin, with this Award, recognizes our collective dedication and know-how and the contribution we’ve made to sustainable value and mobility,” said An Nuyttens, President of Solvay’s Silica Global Business Unit.

Presented for the fourth time since its creation in 2011, the Michelin Supplier Awards recognize suppliers that are exemplary in meeting the company’s high standards and in their commitment to building a genuine partnership.

Read the full press release here.

October 29, 2018

European Union issues definitive anti-dumping duties on Chinese truck and bus tires

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 11:19 am

The European Commission has published definitive anti-dumping duties on new and retreaded truck and bus tires imported from China that are measurably lower than the duties proposed in May.

A 50-page document, signed Oct. 18 by EC President Jean-Claude Juncker, lists the duties as: Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., 23.41 percent; Giti Group, 29.56 percent; Aeolus Group and Pirelli (Prometeon), 37.29 percent; other cooperating companies, 32.3 percent; and Xingyuan Group and all other companies, 55.07 percent.

The EC noted in the document that after considerable input by all parties involved and careful consideration, it determined both dumping margins and injury margin, the latter defined as the “margin adequate to remove the injury” to the collective European Union industry.

The EC began looking into possible antidumping measures against Chinese truck/bus tires in August 2017 in reaction to a complaint lodged by the “coalition against unfair tires imports.”

The regulation is set to take effect the day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and remain in place for five years.

Read the full document here.

Michelin upgrading Canada plant to support winter tire launch

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 10:44 am

Michelin North America Inc. plans to unveil a new line of winter tires for the North American market in 2020. The company will build those tires in Granton, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. That same plant will be the first on the continent to install an innovative semi-finished manufacturing process.

“New to North America, this innovative process allows us to produce semi-finished materials needed for tire-building right here at home,” says Jeff MacLean, president of Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. “These investments allow us to remain competitive in the marketplace, while continuing to build our future here in Nova Scotia.”

Combined, the new tire line and manufacturing process represent a $21 million investment in the plant, one of three Michelin production facilities in Nova Scotia.

Read the full press release here.

Bridgestone building $45 million warehouse at Quebec tire plant

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 10:17 am

Bridgestone Canada Inc. plans to build a $45 million automated warehouse in Joliette, Québec, adjacent to its passenger and light truck tire plant there, increasing its ability to serve North American customers.

With a maximum storage capacity of 500,000 tires, the new building will utilize fully automated technology to store the tires manufactured at the Joliette plant. The new facility is expected to open in early 2020.

Read the full press release here.

October 19, 2018

Evonik opens precipitated silica plant in South Carolina

Filed under: Silica, Tires — Notch @ 11:26 am

Evonik Industries has opened a precipitated silica plant in Goose Creek, South Carolina. The $120 million investment comes in response to increasing demand from the North American tire industry for precipitated silica, which Evonik said can help improve the rolling resistance and the wet grip of tires.

The South Carolina site will also manufacture the recently developed Ultrasil 7800 GR silica, which Evonik said is suited to extra-large tires, which support the growing SUV market in the U.S. Due to its larger specific surface area, Evonik claims, Ultrasil 7800 GR is said to gives a tire’s tread compound more rigidity without negatively impacting its processability.

“The opening of the new production plant is an important step in strengthening our position as a global partner for the tire industry,” said Harald Schwager, deputy chairman of the Executive Board of Evonik Industries. “In the expansion of our silica business we’re following a clear strategy. In addition to taking over the activities of Huber Silica we’re continually expanding our capacities for silica.”

Read the full press release here.

Yokohama launches procurement policy for sustainable rubber

Filed under: Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 10:31 am

Yokohama Rubber has launched a new procurement policy aimed at sourcing rubber more sustainably, amid concerns around deforestation in southern Asia where it is farmed.

The policy outlines how the company will source natural rubber without causing deforestation or harming biodiversity.

The policy also calls on suppliers to do the same, but adds that the company would take steps to support them in doing this, such as promoting the latest efficient farming techniques and investing in initiatives to search for materials which could replace natural rubber.

The company said it was participating in the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative, an inter-governmental organization made up of rubber producers and consumer stakeholders, which aims to fight unsustainable rubber farming.

Of the world’s natural rubber resources, 90 percent is farmed from trees in forests between India and Vietnam, as well as in southern China and Indonesia, according to WWF.

Yokohama said that growth in demand in recent years has “increased concerns about a host of problems, including unlawful deforestation, land exploitation, human rights violations and adverse effects on biodiversity.”

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