News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

January 1, 2017

Wishing all a happy, safe, and prosperous new year

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 3:41 pm


December 19, 2016

Evonik begins construction on US silica plant

Filed under: Silica, Uncategorized — Notch @ 6:30 am

Last week, Evonik Industries announced the location of its new precipitated silica plant in the United States. The $120M factory will be located in the Bushy Park industrial area near Charleston, South Carolina. Construction on the plant is expected to begin this month with completion by mid-2018. The company has not released the new plant’s capacity, but output will focus on highly dispersible grades of silica for use in passenger car tires, which can reduce rolling resistance and improve fuel economy. Here is the press release announcing the plant location. The company held a ground-breaking ceremony at the site last week.

Evonik acquires silica business of J.M. Huber for $630M

Filed under: Silica, Uncategorized — Notch @ 6:15 am

On December 9, 2016, Evonik Industries AG announced the acquisition of the silica business of J.M. Huber (Edison, NJ) for $630 million. The business operated as part of Huber Engineered Materials (Atlanta, GA) and had been part of Huber’s business line since the 1950s. The silica businesses of the two companies are complementary, as Evonik focuses on industrial applications, particularly tires and coatings, while Huber is a leader in dentifrice and consumer goods. For the 2016 financial year, Huber Silica is expected to achieve sales of close to $300 million, with an EBITDA of $60 million. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2017.

October 7, 2016

Cancarb adds distributor in Korea

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 2:22 pm

This week Cancarb Limited announced the appointment of Kangshin Industrial Co., Ltd. as Cancarb’s authorized distributor for Thermax thermal black in South Korea as of January 1, 2017. Cancarb is the world’s leading producer of thermal black and is a subsidiary of Tokai Carbon.

Here is the press release.


Monolith establishing HQ in Lincoln, Nebraska

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 2:17 pm

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Monolith Materials has announced plans to establish a manufacturing headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska. Monolith is a California-based startup that plans to build a new $50M carbon black plant in Hallam, NE in cooperation with Nebraska Public Power. The new plant will produce carbon black from natural gas and provide by-product hydrogen as fuel for a converted coal-based burner at the site. Phase 1 of the plant recently broke ground and startup is expected by mid 2018.

In the original plan, only the plant would be located in Nebraska, but Monolith recently announced plans to establish a manufacturing headquarter in downtown Lincoln by November 1. The company plans to hire 50 people for the first phase, adding another 50-100 employees for the second phase of the project.

September 9, 2016

Cancarb adds R.D. Abbott as distributor in US/Canada

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 7:57 am

Cancarb Limited today announced the appointment of R.D. Abbott Company, Inc. (Cerritos, CA) as Cancarb’s agent for Thermax brand thermal black to the rubber industry in the US and Canada, effective January 1, 2017.

Cancarb Limited, a subsidiary of Tokai Carbon, is the world’s leading producer of medium thermal black. R.D. Abbott is a US-based supplier to the rubber industry.

Here is the press release.

OCI completes Chinese carbon black plant

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 7:30 am

The Investor reports that OCI has completed its joint venture carbon black plant in Shandong, China, which will operate as OCI Jianyang Carbon Black Company. OCI’s partner in the venture is Zaozhuang Mining Group (Shandong Energy). The new factory has 80,000 tons of annual capacity.

June 5, 2016

Orion seeking to close carbon black plant in France

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 3:35 pm

On Friday, Orion Engineered Carbons announced that it has begun consultations with the Works Council at its Ambѐs, France facility in order to implement a restructuring and down staffing with a potential cessation of production at the site by the end of 2016.

Jack Clem, Orion’s group CEO, said that in order for the group to remain competitive in today’s global marketplace, it must fully utilize the capabilities of its carbon black operations, concentrating resources at more efficient facilities and those capable of producing technically special and unique grades that can compete in today’s challenging environment.

The French Orion plant employs approximately 40 people.

According to Clem, in the event manufacturing is stopped the plant would be deactivated simultaneously with the depletion of the existing stocks, thus fulfilling ongoing existing customer commitments until depletion.

Ambѐs is a commune located in the Aquitaine region in the south-west of France, 20 km from Bordeaux and 480 km from Paris. The facility in Ambѐs was founded by the American Philips Petroleum Company and Continental Carbon Company in 1959 and began operations in 1960 as Cofrablack. It was purchased by Degussa, the predecessor to Orion Engineered Carbons, in 1986.

March 24, 2016

Reflections of Hainan

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 9:46 pm

This week I’ve been at the Carbon Black China conference in Haikou, Hainan, China, where Notch was honored to present a keynote address on future prospects of the global carbon black industry. The Chinese conference is held every other year at different locations in China. The conference has been held for many years but was only opened up to international attendees ten years ago, in 2006. Notch has presented papers at the last three CBC conferences, held in Guilin, Hangzhou, and Kunming. The conference is heavily focused on the Chinese industry, and attendance is about 90% Chinese. The papers are quite comprehensive and detailed, with a level of information sharing that would be unusual in a Western conference. There is an assumption that if a Chinese company determines a better way to do something, they have an obligation to share their findings.

The mood at the conference was cautiously optimistic, as China’s carbon black industry had a very tough year in 2015. Production volumes in China declined year-over-year by 1.9% to just over 5 million tons — the industry’s first annual decline in some 20 years. Exports declined 13% in 2015 while domestic demand was flat. Selling prices fell sharply due to both lower feedstock and energy prices as well as intense price pressures brought on by overcapacity and a weak tire industry, which is also faces weaker demand and severe overcapacity. Fan Ruxin of the China Carbon Black Institute presented the results of the industry’s 12th Five Year Plan, which ended in 2015, along with a blueprint for improvements to be implemented in the 13th Five Year Plan, which began in 2016. Dr. Soumen Chakraborty of Himadri Chemicals & Industries presented an excellent paper on the Future Prospects of the Carbon Black industry, Michael Spahr of IMERYS Graphite & Carbon gave a talk on Conductive Blacks, and Anil Kumar of PVTI gave a talk outlining a 360 degree approach to the business. All in all another excellent conference from the folks at China Carbon Black.

Photos: Hainan Taoism Cultural Court



March 15, 2016

Cabot CEO Patrick Prevost resigns, replaced by Sean Keohane

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 12:23 am

On Friday, Cabot Corporation announced that Patrick Prevost would resign as President and Chief Executive Officer effective March 11, 2016. He remains a member of the Board of Directors and an employee of Cabot Corporation. In December 2015, Cabot announced that Mr. Prevost would take a medical leave of absence due to a minor stroke.

Also on March 11, 2016, Cabot’s Board of Directors elected Sean D. Keohane President and Chief Executive Officer, effective March 11, 2016. Mr. Keohane was also elected a member of the Board of Directors and will serve on the Board’s Executive Committee. Mr. Keohane joined Cabot in 2002 and since November 2014 has been Executive Vice President and President of Cabot’s Reinforcement Materials segment.



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