News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

March 27, 2010

Evonik Still Considering ‘Carve-Out’ of Carbon Black Business

Filed under: Carbon Black, General — Notch @ 11:06 am

From Business Week comes word that Evonik Industries is planning to to proceed with an initial share sale if financial markets continue to improve, including the possible spin-off of the carbon black business.

[Chief Executive Officer Klaus] Engel is also evaluating options for carbon black and colorant units, including the sale, carve out, or placing into a partnership, as he focuses on chemicals. The units have sales of 870 million euros.

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March 25, 2010

Evonik Releases 4Q, Full Year Results for 2009

Filed under: Carbon Black, General, Silica — Notch @ 9:20 am

Evonik Industries has released its fourth quarter and full year results for 2009. Sales dropped 18% in fiscal 2009 due to the economic situation, though EBITDA was down only 6% year-on-year.

In 2009 Group sales slipped 18 percent year-on-year to €13.076 billion. However, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and the non-operating result) only slipped 6 percent to €2.025 billion year-on-year, compared with decline of 34 percent in the first six months. This performance was due to effective cost-cutting and a slight upturn in demand from the summer. Overall, the Group’s EBITDA margin climbed to 15.5 percent in 2009, which was well above the previous year’s level (13.6 percent).

The Chemicals Business Area had fiscal 2009 sales of €9.978 million, down 15% from €11.762 million in fiscal 2008. EBITDA for the Chemicals Business was down only 1% in fiscal 2009. Fourth quarter 2009 sales in the Chemicals Business were down just 1% compared to 4Q 2008, while EBITDA was up 88% during the quarter. The company also outlined its broad strategy moving forward (emphasis mine):

Group strategy paves the way for profitable growth

2009 was also characterized by a strategic realignment of the Group, with a fundamental refocusing geared to further profitable growth and sustained value creation. Following an extensive analysis, in December 2009 Evonik decided to concentrate on specialty chemicals in the future. The Group already ranks among the global leaders in this field. The aim is to enable the energy business to fully exploit its considerable growth potential in collaboration with one or more partners, while remaining part of the Evonik Group. In addition, Evonik plans to combine its real estate activities with those of THS GmbH, creating a strong residential real estate company with around 130,000 residential units. In the Chemicals Business Area Evonik is systematically focusing on high-margin business with attractive growth and earnings potential. Above all, the Group wants to benefit from global megatrends: resource efficiency, health and nutrition, and the globalization of technologies.

March 18, 2010

Denman Tires Declares Bankruptcy

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 3:19 pm

Denman Tire filed for bankruptcy today and plans to sell its plant and equipment to pay debts. The Leavittsburg-based company filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which involves liquidation, not reorganization. The filing was made in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Youngstown. The 91-year-old tire manufacturer already has shut down its plant, leaving 260 people out of work. The company operates one tire plant in Leavittsburg, Ohio with 2,600 u/d of capacity mainly for ag, industrial, and OTR tires.

Here is a good article from July 2009 from Rubber & Plastics News detailing the company’s struggles in the current economy.

March 17, 2010

Notch Announces New Rubber Chemicals Report

Notch Consulting is proud to announce a new addition to its lineup of reports: the Rubber Chemicals Market Update. This is a bi-annual subscription newsletter covering conditions and developments in the global rubber chemicals industry, including antidegradants, accelerators, and other chemicals (including retarders, anti-scorch agents, adhesion promoters, tackifiers, antireversion agents, stabilizers, and peptizers). The first issue of the new report was published in February, and future issues will appear twice per year.

The Rubber Chemicals Market Update provides detailed coverage of 6PPD/IPPD, TMQ, accelerators, and other chemicals. The first issue is 29 pages with 12 tables, as well as a separate Excel spreadsheet that provides supplemental data, country/regional details, and a detailed capacity matrix for all suppliers and segments. Data include quarterly demand estimates for the current year, with comparisons to the same quarter of the previous year. Also included are full year demand figures going back to 2000, as well as forecasts for 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2025. Data are provided at the global and regional levels, as well as for the 20 largest national markets.

The report also provides global production capacity by company for 6PPD/IPPD, TMQ, and accelerators, as well as details on recent and pending capacity projects in the industry, including both expansions and closures. Capacity data are provided for all years 2005-2009 for PPDs and TMQ, and for 2005, 2007, and 2009 for accelerators. Accelerator capacity is also broken out by sulfenamides, thiazoles, and ultra/secondary.

Contact Notch Consulting for more information or to order the report. Email: info@notchconsulting.com; Phone: 413-253-7733.

Lanxess: Jhagadia Site Up and Running

Filed under: General, Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 12:37 pm

In early March, LANXESS announced that it had completed the first phase of construction of its new site in Jhagadia, Gujarat state, India. The production of the rubber chemicals plant was started up, as planned, after being relocated from Thane, Maharashtra state.

The plant features the latest technology and was constructed over a period of less than two years. It will supply the global rubber and mineral oil additive market as well as the rapidly growing Indian tire and rubber industry with high-quality antioxidants belonging to LANXESS’ Vulkanox® brand.

“The Jhagadia site will become LANXESS’ largest production site in India and highlights our long-term commitment to the growing domestic market as well as our Group’s BRIC strategy,” said Rainier van Roessel, member of the Board of Management of LANXESS AG. “With the plant, LANXESS stands out as the only Western company to be manufacturing rubber chemicals in India.”

Lanxess to Boost Capacity for Rubber Used in Green Tires

Filed under: General, Silica, Tires — Notch @ 12:30 pm

LANXESS has announced plans to expand the global capacity of its high-performance rubber Neodymium Polybutadiene (Nd-PBR). LANXESS will invest about EUR 20 million to increase production by an additional 50,000 metric tons per year at its sites in Dormagen/Germany, Orange/USA and Cabo/Brazil. The extra capacities will go on stream between the first quarter of 2011 and first quarter of 2012.

Among other factors, LANXESS pointed to new European regulations that were approved in November 2009 that stipulate that by November 2012 new tires sold in Europe have to be labeled for fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise. According to LANXESS,

The aim of the legislation is to reduce CO2 and noise emissions by promoting green tires that do not compromise on safety. In addition, the labels will provide more transparency to consumers and aid them in their purchase decisions. The tires are to be categorized in a system of classes, with the best performance being labeled “Class A” and the poorest “Class G”. Tire makers in Japan are voluntarily introducing tire labels from the beginning of 2010, while the USA is also evaluating similar labeling regulations.

Canada May Develop Fuel Efficiency Rating for Truck Tires

Filed under: General, Silica, Tires — Notch @ 12:16 pm

From Rubber & Plastics News: Natural Resources Canada is exploring the possibility of developing a fuel-efficiency tire-labeling program for truck tires. The Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is surveying trucking fleets across Canada, with the assistance of the Canadian Trucking Association, to determine fleets’ buying habits.

NHTSA Plans Meeting on Tire Fuel Efficiency

Filed under: Silica, Tires — Notch @ 12:09 pm

From Tire Business comes word that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will hold a public meeting at the headquarters of the US Department of Transportation on 26 March on its on-going tire fuel efficiency testing and labeling program.

The public hearing is intended to further define the consumer education element of the Congressionally mandated program. The new tire testing, labeling and education mandate was included in the Energy Bill of 2007, passed and signed in December 2007. NHTSA issued preliminary regulations last year, and was expected to issue its final regulations by the end of 2009.

Conti’s View of 2010

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 11:50 am

From European Rubber Journal’s (subscription required) interview with Nikolai Setzer, Conti’s management board member in charge of car tires.

How do you assess the tyre market for 2010?

“In Europe, we expect a flat market in production. But in North America, we expect a substantial recovery of about 20 percent. But the level was at a historic low in 2009. It can almost only go up.

We also see positive signs for original equipment in Europe, where we expect growth of 2 percent to 4 percent. In Asia, especially China, the growth should end up considerably stronger.”

The interview also touches on tires for electric vehicles.

Evonik Introduces New Matting Agent

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 11:44 am

Evonik Industries has announced a new silica-based matting agent, EXP 3600, intended for UV-cured coatings. According to the company, the new product, part of Evonik’s ACEMATT line, is characterized by high transparency, low residual gloss, excellent surface quality, and scratch-resistance.

Here is the press release.

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