News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays from Notch Consulting Group

Filed under: General — Notch @ 6:22 am

Dear Readers,

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and prosperous new year!

December 22, 2010

Evonik Carbon Black moves headquarters to Hanau, Germany

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:02 pm

As part of its spin-off from Evonik Industries, in September 2010 Evonik Carbon Black GmbH moved its headquarters from Frankfurt to the Wolfgang Industrial Park in Hanau, Germany, near Frankfurt am Main. Roughly 700 employees made the move to the new headquarters, which is based in a newly erected office building. The site was one of the biggest sites of the former Degussa, but after many mergers and sales of individual businesses, it has become a multi-user site operated by Evonik.

According to Evonik’s website, the Wolfgang Industrial Park grew out of the Königlich-Preussische Pulverfabrik (Royal Prussian Powder Factory) established in 1875 and has undergone continual development ever since. The site, which occupies an area of 820,000 square meters, has existed in its present form since 2001. It currently supports a production and research center for materials technology, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals that houses a total of ten companies. More than 2,600 people work in or for the Health & Nutrition, Inorganic Materials, Industrial Chemicals, Coatings & Additives, and Consumer Specialties Business Units of Evonik Industries.

Photo: Wolfgang Industrial Park, courtesy of Evonik Industries

December 18, 2010

Evonik Carbon Black bids due by Jan. 12

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 7:00 am

The Wall Street Journal reports that first round bids for Evonik Industries’ AG Carbon Black unit are due Jan. 12, quoting a person familiar with the situation said Thursday.

Evonik launched the sale process September as part of its plan to sell-off non-core assets and focus on specialty chemicals. Barclays PLC (BCS) is running the auction process, people said.

Evonik’s Carbon Black business has earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, of between EUR125 million and EUR130 million on annual sales of around EUR1 billion.

Evonik is looking to get EUR1 billion for the unit and information memorandums have been sent to both strategic and private equity firms interested in the process, the people added.

December 16, 2010

Dow Corning opens integrated silicones plant

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 9:27 am

Dow Corning and its joint venture partner have completed a US$1.8 billion integrated silicone production site in Zhangjiagang, China, the largest site of its kind in China. The complex includes a siloxane plant and a pyrogenic silica plant, both of which are jointly owned by Dow Corning and its joint venture partner. The site also features finished silicone production plants, which are owned and operated independently by each company. Products manufactured at the site include D4, linears, polymers, and other intermediates, as well as downstream products such as finished fluids, emulsions, sealants and rubber. In addition to intermediates and fluids, the Zhangjiagang site includes finished silicone plants for rubbers and sealants.

Here is the press release.

Sabanci Holding increasing stake in Kordsa Global

Filed under: Tire Cord — Notch @ 9:18 am

According to a Turkish newspaper, Milliyet, Haci Omer Sabanci Holding AS plans to invest $110 million in BRISA (the Turkish joint venture company owned by Bridgestone and the Sabanci Group) and in tire cord manufacturer Kordsa Global. The newspaper cites the president of Sabanci’s Tire, Tire Reinforcement Materials and Automotive division, Mehmet Pekarun, as saying the division is targeting sales of four billion liras in 2011. Sales this year will total around three billion liras. BRISA may post sales of 960 million liras this year and aims for 1.2 billion liras next year, Pekarun added.

From Tire Review.

Pirelli data show continued growth in November

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 9:00 am

Pirelli’s latest tire data show that the tire market continued to grow in November, albeit with some slowing.

The results, which show only percentage increases and not units, are here.

In NAFTA, OE car and light truck sales for November were up 2% YOY and 42% YTD, while replacement sales were up 7% YOY and 4% YTD. NAFTA’s OE truck tire sales were up 30% YOY and 29% YTD in November, while replacement truck tire sales were up 23% YOY and 18% YTD.

In Europe, OE car and light truck sales for November were up 3% YOY and 13% YTD, while replacement sales were up 15% YOY and 8% YTD. Europe’s OE truck tire sales were up 85% YOY and 53% YTD in November, while replacement truck tire sales were up 13% YOY and 18% YTD.

In the Mercosur region, OE car and light truck sales for November were up 11% YOY and 13% YTD, while replacement sales were up 15% YOY and 12% YTD. Mercosur’s OE truck tire sales were up 19% YOY and 49% YTD in November, while replacement truck tire sales were up 25% YOY and 22% YTD.

‘Green Roads Summit’ scheduled for Las Vegas

Filed under: General — Notch @ 8:47 am

A new “Green Roads Summit” at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011 will offer attendees ready-to apply green construction techniques and the latest environmental information affecting jobsites, including green roads programs.

The daylong event, which includes a closing reception, is March 24, 2011 and is open to all show attendees. CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011 will be held March 22-26, 2011 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, USA.

The Green Roads Summit is a collaboration between CONEXPO-CON/AGG and Construction Materials Recycling Association (CMRA), U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Recycling/Reuse breakouts will discuss use of industrial byproducts in pavements, recycled asphalt pavement, scrap tires in rubberized asphalt, in-place concrete and asphalt pavement recycling and two-lift concrete construction with recycled concrete.

Details here.

WTO sides with Obama administration on Chinese tire tariffs

Filed under: Carbon Black, General, insoluble sulfur, Rubber Chemicals, Tire Cord, Tires — Notch @ 7:00 am

The World Trade Organization’s dispute-settlement panel has sided with the Obama administration on a September 2009 decision to levy tariffs up to 35% on Chinese tires, the Wall Street Journal has reported. Both sides have sixty days to appeal the ruling.

The WTO panel, in its report, said the value of Chinese tire shipments to the U.S. nearly tripled between 2004 and 2008 to $1.8 billion. China countered that the rate of growth slowed between 2007 and 2008, and said U.S. trade officials had failed to account properly for the effect on U.S. producers of the broader slump in demand during the recession.

The tires decision contrasted with a WTO ruling Friday that condemned antidumping tariffs imposed by the European Union on imports of Chinese screws, billed as Beijing’s biggest WTO victory yet in its fight against retaliatory tariffs imposed by the EU and U.S. That case centered on EU charges that Chinese companies were exporting goods below cost.

December 13, 2010

Bridgestone aims to cut rubber consumption by half by 2020

Here’s a story that has me scratching my head.

On December 2, Bloomberg reported that Bridgestone planned to cut its rubber consumption by 50 percent over the next decade, citing an interview with Masayuki Ishii, general manager of Bridgestone’s corporate communications division. The article quoted Ishii as stating, “Technology being developed will halve use of natural and synthetic rubber in each Bridgestone tire without affecting product quality.”

The article makes it clear that the reduction would affect all tire raw materials. “Bridgestone’s new technology will reduce the amount of all tire materials, including natural and synthetic rubber, incrementally over 10 years without cutting performance, Ishii said, declining to elaborate.”

I am trying to get more information on this announcement, as it truly is astounding news if it comes to pass. As I read this, it implies that producing the same size tire would require half the materials in 10 year’s time. I can’t even begin to imagine how something like this would be accomplished (and I’m assuming here that it doesn’t simply refer to making smaller tires).

___________________________________________
Update: I received the following response from Bridgestone’s public relations department regarding the article:

With regard to your requirement, we deeply regret to inform you that further than what is mentioned on the article, we do not have much to announce officially at this moment.

With regard to half weight project, while we anticipate that it will be a long-term development, we have not currently established a target date. The commercialization of these technologies is being decided on an
individual basis while considering market trends and the performance targets we strive to meet.

Evonik raises carbon black prices

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 1:15 pm

On December 6, Evonik Carbon Black GmbH, subsidiary of Evonik Industries, Essen, announced that it is increasing prices for Carbon Black Rubber grades CORAX, DUREX, ECORAX & PUREX by 100,-€/ton in Europe and neighboring countries. The price increase will be effective for all deliveries on or after January 1, 2011. Evonik Carbon GmbH is one of the world’s largest producers of carbon black (furnace carbon black, lamp black, and gas black).

Here is the press release.

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