The new issue of the column "Looking at the markets" is concentrating on polyolefins and polymer materials, which are widely used in the cable industry (for power and signal cables, telecom, data, LAN cables etc.).
The article analyses the performances of three stock companies which are particularly prominent in this industry with current information on their business activities - we believe this is a good way to develop an impression of this market.
The three companies under the spotlights are:
DuPont, polymer materials
PolyOne, polymer materials
We invite you also to read the final part of the article called "Latest trends" which considers newly published market surveys and other studies concerning directly or indirectly the mentioned industry, constituting an additional source of information.
Borealis AG, Vienna/Austria (05/05/2017): The manufacturer of polyolefins (for the infrastructure, automotive, packaging and cable industries), base chemicals and fertilizers with around 6,600 employees reports net sales of €2.0bn for the first quarter of 2017 (to the end of March) compared to €1.9bn for the same period in 2016. The net profit in the first quarter of 2017 amounted to €313 million, compared to €255 million in the same quarter of 2016. This result was driven by high margins in the polyolefins business and by an improved contribution from Borouge, a joint venture between Borealis and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). Net debt increased by €619 million in the first quarter, largely due to the payment of a €750 million dividend to Borealis' shareholders. Despite the increase in net debt, Borealis' financial position remains strong, with a gearing of 21% at the end of the first quarter 2017.
Automotive compounding plant in North America
Borealis has decided to build an automotive polypropylene (PP) compounding plant in Taylorsville, North Carolina. The new facility will help to secure the position of Borealis as a local supplier to automotive OEMs and their Tier partners in North America and serves to strengthen the company’s position in Europe, Brazil and China. The North Carolina plant is scheduled to become commercially operational in early 2019 and will initially produce PP compounds in the Daplen™ family of PP thermoplastic olefins (TPO) and in the Fibremod™ range of PP short glass fibre (SGF) reinforced materials. The plant will complement the existing Borealis Automotive Compounding assets located in New Jersey, as well as the current production via tolling partners.
Next step in going global
Borealis and NOVA Chemicals Corporation signed a preliminary agreement to form a joint venture (JV) with Total Petrochemicals and Refining USA, Inc. to meet growing global demand for polyethylene. Key aspects of the JV will include building a new 1,000 ktpa ethane cracker in Port Arthur, Texas, and a new 625 ktpa Borstar® PE plant in Bayport, Texas. It will also include owning and operating Total's existing Bayport polyethylene (PE) facility, with a total capacity of 400 ktpa. The JV will is expected to be established in late 2017 and the final investment decision on the Borstar PE plant will be taken at the same time. The ethane cracker and Borstar PE plant are planned to start-up in late 2020.
World record of 640 kV for HVDC cable technology
Borealis and Borouge announced a new world record of 640 kV for extruded high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable technology.
Borealis builds on over 15 years of operational experience in extruded HVDC materials and on its proprietary Borlink™ technology. This new step-change in electrical performance and record-breaking voltage level has been made possible through the properties of tailored polymers based on Borlink, in combination with the high levels of chemical and physical cleanliness of these compounds.
Borealis continues to benefit from the strong polyolefins industry margin supporting the polyolefins business profit contribution.
For Q2 2017 the company expects the polyolefins business and Borouge to continue to perform well. Borealis further expects that North America will become a significant net exporter in the coming years.
Company presentation/annual report
DuPont, Wilmington, Delaware/USA (25/04/2017): The chemical company with about 56,000 employees worldwide – which developed polymers such as Nylon, Teflon, Kevlar, Lycra as well as refrigerants and synthetic pigments and paints – reported sales of USD7.7 billion for the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 5% compared with the same period in prior year. The net profit, however, fell by 10% to USD1.1 billion because of special charges in connection with the merger with Dow Chemical.
Performance Materials: The first quarter 2017 operating earnings of USD355 million increased by USD82 million, or 30%, driven by higher volumes and cost savings. Increased demand for polymers in automotive markets and specialty copolymers growth in packaging drove increased volumes.
Dow and DuPont Provide Update on Merger
DuPont made significant progress in the merger with Dow. DuPont continues to expect to close the merger in August of this year and quickly begin working on the 500-plus projects already identified to deliver the targeted USD3 billion in cost synergies.
The chemical companies DuPont and Dow have come a step closer to their aim of a merger. The US competition authorities have approved as both companies are willing to sale business areas. Initially the new Dow-DuPont will become the world’s biggest chemical company – even bigger than BASF, the leading company.
After the merger, Dow-DuPont will be divided into three different and listed companies for polymers, specialty chemicals and agricultural chemicals. The companies reaffirmed their expectation to close the merger in August 2017, with the intended spin-offs to occur within 18 months of closing.
Company presentation/annual report
PolyOne, Avon Lake, OH/USA (27/04/2017): The provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions with nearly 7,000 employees reported its first quarter results for 2017: Revenue increased 6% to USD898.8 million compared to USD847.0 million in the prior year, the operating income amounted to USD81.4 million compared to USD71.3 million. The company achieved an organic sales growth of 5% through increased sales force efficiency and effectiveness, new products and value-added services. Acquisitions added 2% to sales growth while unfavorable foreign exchange negatively impacted sales by 1%. PolyOne repurchased one million shares of common stock and strengthened capital structure by reducing interest rates on existing term loan and credit facility.
Selling and acquisition projects
PolyOne is going to sell its Designed Structures and Solutions (DSS) business, which includes sheet, rollstock and packaging assets, to Arsenal Capital Partners for USD115 million. On the other hand, the company is seeking out new investments that expand its material science, polymer formulation and service capabilities and announced in June 2017 the acquisition of Rutland Holding Company headquartered in Pineville, North Carolina. In this way PolyOne is expanding its portfolio of specialty color, additives and inks solutions.
E-book on Materials Matter for Advanced Mobility
Materials play a big part in enabling the march toward electric cars, autonomous vehicles, better driver assistance options, telematics and more. PolyOne has published an e-book which explains the connections between these upcoming developments and the advanced materials (polymers, colorants and composites) that can help make them possible. Essential topics of the brochure are:
- Trends and forces which are shaping the future of advanced mobility technology.
- Challenges which these trends present to designers and engineers.
- Materials that make mobility advancements possible.
- How specific materials meet each challenge.
The brochure can be downloaded from: http://go.polyone.com/AdvancedMobilityEBook
A company spokesman said that PolyOne’s investments in commercial resources are paying off. The company is also seeing gains from its recent acquisitions and is excited about the expansion of its composite and specialty colorant portfolio. Further fueling growth are the service offerings and web-based customer interfacing which are helping customers accelerate their speed to market and improve operational efficiencies.
Company presentation/annual report
Latest trends – Market Research Reports
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Previous issues of the column:
Looking at the markets: Benteler, Vallourec, Webco Industries >>
Looking at the markets: Bossard, Norma Group, SFS >>
Looking at the markets: Bekaert, Salzgitter, Voestalpine >>
Looking at the markets: Aurubis, Huber+Suhner, Leoni >>
The information has been compiled by Dipl.-Ing. Konrad Dengler, a technical journalist specialised in industrial activities.
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