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Synthomer to Expand its Dispersion Plant, PV Nano Cell Acquires DigiFlex, Dow’s PARALOID™ Edge Coating Technology Grabs Award and more

SpecialChem / Mark Drukenbrod – Feb 23, 2017

Hello and welcome to your late week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. In industry news since last issue, AkzoNobel announced that it will open a Euro 12.6 million research and innovation hub in Felling, UK and Azelis announced an extended distribution agreement with allnex. Axalta introduced a Global Warranty program for its architectural powder coatings and Safic-Alcan announced a partnership with Ashland to resell their specialty solvents products. There’s much more where we continue and as always, you can go to the above items now using the links, or checkout our latest stories, which we’ll get to right away…

Synthomer to Expand its Dispersion Plant in Germany

Synthomer announced that it will invest €20 million in its dispersion plant located in Worms, Germany. The investment adds several new and fully automated production lines for Acrylic-Dispersions. The plant extension strengthens the company’s continuous growth in Paints & Coatings, Construction Chemicals, technical Textiles as well as Adhesives and Sealants. The production plant in Worms is Synthomer largest acrylic site in Europe, being strategically well located with close proximity to the customer base and excellent connections to the river Rhine, railway and road. The investment will add 30,000 tonnes to its existing capacity. The high flexibility of the newly constructed lines enables further organic growth in the specialty segments, since more than 25% of the new capacity will be utilized by innovative, highly environmentally friendly products.

PV Nano Cell Expands its Business by Acquiring DigiFlex

PV Nano Cell, an innovative producer of single-crystal, metal nanometric based conductive digital inks, has announced that the Company signed an LOI to acquire all of the outstanding shares of DigiFlex Ltd., which develops, manufactures and distributes the DigiFlex Flexojet inkjet-based printing system, in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $10 million. "We have entered into this transaction because of the synergies between DigiFlex and PV Nano Cell, which we hope will generate significant global sales opportunities for both our product lines and create near and long-term value for our shareholders. Specifically, DigiFlex offers PV Nano Cell a number of key printer technologies and inks that will allow us to implement a comprehensive 'Complete Solution Approach' for our customers. As a result, we will have the unique ability to support Additive Digital design, prototyping and mass production of electronic devices, such as PCBs, all in one,” said Dr. Fernando de la Vega, CEO of PV Nano Cell. "We are honored that DigiFlex's investors have chosen to join us and we welcome them as shareholders in PV Nano Cell."

Dow’s PARALOID™ Edge Coating Technology Grabs One More Award

The Business Intelligence Group (BIG) has recently named Dow Coating Materials, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, a winner of its 2017 Innovation Awards for PARALOID™ Edge Technology – a novel offering which continues to blaze trails inside and out of the coatings industry. “The unceasing acknowledgement of this innovation speaks to both our commitment to industrial coatings innovation – as well as the reaching impact PARALOID™ Edge has had in such a short amount of time,” said Mary Rose Correa, North America marketing manager for Industrial Coatings, Dow Coating Materials. The novel ambient cure capability offered by PARALOID™ Edge Technology can allow for faster return-to-service, while extending pot life can facilitate once per shift make-up and potentially less material waste. This solvent-borne offering also features application flexibility and is isocyanate1 and formaldehyde2 free.

On Your Coatings Radar

In case there was any question about the marketing power of celebrity and social media after the last US presidential election, we now have an instance of that power in the coatings industry. On your coatings radar for this issue, Casey and Jamie Davis, the founders of Los Angeles, California–based Portola Paints & Glazes, named a new color of paint for popstar/actress Selena Gomez’ latest album and posted the process to their Instagram account last Thursday. The caption read, “Holler at my girl @selenagomez cause our new color Revival is lit.” In response, Gomez (currently the most followed person on Instagram with 110 million devoted double-tappers,) shared a photo of Portola cofounder, Jamie, who is married to her trainer. “Proud of my trainers husband cause he’s goals for real @amyrosoffdavis @portolapaints,” she captioned the photo, which had collected 1.5 million likes and 11,200 comments by Monday afternoon.

That’s a lot of exposure for…well, zero cost.

AkzoNobel to Open Research and Innovation Hub for Protective Coatings

More than 100 of the coatings industry’s leading scientists are being brought together by AkzoNobel in a new €12.6 million research and innovation hub which could revolutionize the company’s portfolio.

Located in Felling in the UK, the facility will be home to teams of scientists and technical experts who will work on developing protective coatings for the energy, mining, infrastructure and oil and gas industries. The main focus will be on delivering cutting edge innovations and efficiencies for protecting steel and concrete structures from damage caused by corrosion, abrasion and fire.

The new innovation hub will also offer a world class testing and simulation facility, enabling tests to be carried out in conditions experienced in the world’s most extreme environments.

The facility is expected to be operational at the end of 2018.

“Our work at the state-of-the-art lab will have an important impact on our most critical industries,” said Conrad Keijzer, AkzoNobel’s Executive Committee member responsible for Performance Coatings. “More than 100 top scientists and technical experts will be working on future solutions that will offer essential protection to a wide variety of products for our customers.”

Added Greg Clark, UK Secretary of State for Business: “Having grown up in the north east of England, I am very aware of the strengths of the chemical sector in the region. AkzoNobel’s significant investment in establishing a new technical innovation hub is further proof that Britain is open for business and underlines the growth we want to see and support in our local economies. As we develop our industrial strategy, we are determined to build on the diverse strengths of all of Britain’s cities and regions.

Tronox Announces Definitive Agreement to Acquire Cristal TiO2 Business

Tronox Limited announced a definitive agreement to acquire the TiO2 business of Cristal, a privately held global chemical and mining company, for $1.673 billion of cash and Class A ordinary shares representing 24 percent ownership in pro forma Tronox. Concurrently with this announcement, the company announced its intent to begin a process to sell its Alkali business. The cash portion of the purchase consideration is expected to be funded through proceeds from the sale of assets, including the sale of Alkali and selected other non-core assets if appropriate, and cash on hand.

The combination of the TiO2 businesses of Tronox and Cristal creates the world's largest and most highly integrated TiO2 pigment producer with assets and operations on six continents. The combined company will operate 11 TiO2 pigment plants in eight countries with a total capacity of 1.3 million metric tons per annum and will have titanium feedstock operations in three countries with a total capacity of 1.5 million metric tons per annum.

"We are pleased to announce the highly synergistic combination of the TiO2 businesses of Tronox and Cristal that will bring significant value to our shareholders, our customers and our employees," said Tom Casey, Tronox Chairman and CEO. Because we don't expect to take on new debt, we project a 50 percent reduction in our net leverage ratio. EPS accretion of more than 100 percent is expected in year one and we believe that between 2018 to 2021 our projected pro forma EPS, EBITDA and free cash flow growth rates will improve by approximately 70 percent, 30 percent and 60 percent, respectively, versus Tronox standalone. We believe this combination presents an extraordinary opportunity to build a global leader that will offer the best results to customers, shareholders, creditors and employees."

"Our intent to sell Alkali comes at an attractive time as the global market for natural soda ash is recovering and prices are improving. Alkali has continually sold every ton of product it produces. The caliber of the Alkali workforce and their commitment to safe, high-quality production are unmatched in the natural soda ash industry. I thank the leadership team and all Alkali employees for their contributions to Tronox," added Casey.

Tasnee CEO Mutlaq Al-Morished commented, "This transaction enables Cristal and Tronox to position the combined businesses for long-term success in the TiO2 industry. This also allows Tasnee to focus on its petrochemical assets, downstream business and other strategic business development opportunities, while substantially deleveraging its balance sheet."

"This agreement will create the most diverse manufacturing platform of any titanium dioxide company. The resulting global network and synergies arising from consolidation of businesses will allow us to better meet customer needs worldwide and provide a more sustainable business. The success of the new company will come from its people, and I have no doubt that they will take the knowledge, skill, commitment and passion that they have shown in the past to help in building a new world-class company," said Dr. Talal Al-Shair, Vice Chairman, Tasnee and Chairman of Cristal.

The acquisition has received the unanimous approval of the Tronox and Cristal boards of directors. The transaction is subject to the approval by Tronox Class A and B shareholders, voting as a single class, as well as regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Closing is expected to occur before the first quarter 2018. Tronox anticipates completing the sale of its Alkali business in the second half of 2017.

Tom Casey will remain chairman and chief executive officer of the company. The size of the company's board of directors will remain unchanged at nine members. Cristal's owners will receive two of the nine existing Board seats. Exxaro Mineral Resources will remain on the Board with its three seats. The company's corporate offices will remain in Stamford, Conn., and it will continue as a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and remain incorporated in the state of Western Australia, Australia.

Hexion & NEO Chemical Enter Distribution Agreement for Acids and Derivatives Product Line

Hexion Inc., producers of Versatic™ Acids and Derivatives and NEO Chemical, a Russian distributor have announced a distribution agreement for Versatic™Acids and Derivatives, VeoVa™ Vinyl Esters and Cardura™ Glycidyl Esters in the Russian Federation.

NEO Chemical will represent Hexion VAD B.V., a subsidiary of Hexion, and its Versatic™ Acids and Derivatives product line, which is used in a wide range of applications including automotive and transportation coatings and fuel and mining additives.

NEO Chemical is a high-performance company and one of the leading distributors of qualitative chemical materials committed toward developing professional knowledge and skills, while dynamically progressing together with partners. NEO Chemical has seven offices and warehouses on the territory of the Russian Federation (Dzerzhinsk, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk), and also four representative offices abroad (Germany, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, China) to organize effective cooperation with its customers and suppliers. The NEO Chemical staff has been trained on the Versatic™ Acids and Derivatives product portfolio at the Hexion’s research and development facility near Brussels, Belgium.

“We are pleased to establish this partnership with NEO Chemical,” said Harold Schweitzer, Vice President and General Manager, Versatic™ Acids and Derivatives. “Our Versatics business unit is the number one global supplier of Versatic™ Acids and Derivatives primarily to the polymer, paints, coatings and adhesives markets and this distribution agreement will further support our efforts to serve the growing Russian Federation market. Versatic™ Acids and Derivatives are excellent intermediates, building blocks and monomers enabling the production of cost-competitive emulsions, high solids and waterborne resins. These resins, in turn, facilitate the trend towards low V.O.C. and environmentally-preferable finishes. From protecting the coating on your car to improving the strength and durability of concrete, Versatic product-based compounds have a well-established track record of performance.”

Azelis Extends Distribution Agreement with allnex for Liquid Resins and Additives

Azelis has announced an extended distribution agreement with allnex for its range of Liquid Resins and Additives (LRA) in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Azelis has already been partnering with allnex for the LRA range in France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Romania, Nordic, Italy and Serbia.

Laurence Gilleron, Azelis Principal Manager for allnex, comments: “We are delighted that allnex has extended their product range to Azelis Benelux. Allnex is recognized as a specialty chemicals pioneer and offers an extensive range of products including innovative liquid resins and additives, for use on wood, metal, plastic, and other surfaces.”

Michaela Cuscela, EMEA Channel Manager at allnex, adds: “We believe Azelis will highly contribute to delivering high-quality service to our customers in Belgium and the Netherlands, thanks to dedicated local sales teams specialized in coatings applications. This agreement will strengthen our partnership with Azelis which already represents allnex in other parts of Europe.”

Michel Dumusois, Azelis Market Segment Director CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers), concludes: “The addition of allnex products means Azelis Benelux can now offer a full and broad portfolio of resins, particularly waterborne, with alkyd emulsions for deco and trim paints, acrylic and PU dispersions for wood coatings and epoxy systems for a long lasting metal protection.”

The deal is effective immediately. Azelis also has an existing pan-European agreement with allnex for lubricants.

Axalta Introduces New Global Warranty Program for Architectural Powder Coatings

Axalta Coating Systems has introduced a Global Warranty program for its premium line of Alesta® architectural powder coatings that deliver superior corrosion protection, excellent weatherability, elasticity, and abrasion resistance.

Alesta powder coatings are designed to meet the rigorous architectural specifications set forth by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), Qualicoat and GSB standards. These high-performance coatings offer super durability, are available in a wide selection of colors and gloss levels, and contain virtually no VOCs and no targeted HAPs. The Global Warranty provides a unique and consistent program to specifiers and façade fabricators through Axalta’s approved applicators.

“Axalta’s powder coatings are engineered to deliver better appearance, improved abrasion resistance and improved hardness,” said Michael Cash Axalta Senior Vice President and President, Industrial Coatings. “This Global Warranty program supports Axalta’s commitment to supplying our customers across the globe with innovative, durable and high-quality products that they can depend on.”

For Axalta approved applicators, the fluoropolymer-based Alesta AR500 UD series powder coatings based on fluorocarbon technology will come with a warranty of up to 30 years, offering advantages such as superior mechanical properties compared to traditional liquid technologies. Alesta AR400 SD super durable polyester-based powder coatings will come with a warranty up to 25 years. Alesta AR300 AP standard durable polyester-based powder coatings will come with a warranty up to 15 years.

Network of European Experts Exploring Coatings as Weapons Against Drug-resistant Bacteria

A network of European experts has begun examining the potential of antimicrobial coatings to prevent the spread of drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals.

The Anti-Microbial Coating Innovations (AMiCI) consortium is studying the development, regulation, and “real life” use of these coatings, which can be used on textiles, including bed sheets and gowns, and solid surfaces such as walls, floors, beds and tables. Professor Colum Dunne from University of Limerick (UL) Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) is a member of the AMiCI Management Group.

According to Professor Dunne: “New approaches are needed to protect hospital patients and healthcare staff. Antimicrobial coatings have great potential. These are surfaces fortified with active ingredients that are responsible for the reduction and even elimination of micro-organisms that come into contact with them”.

Healthcare associated infections, including multidrug-resistant bacteria, effect four million people annually in the European Union, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
More than 60 universities, research institutes and companies from 26 European countries are participating in the network, which represents the first time this issue is being addressed on such a large scale.

Members of the AMiCI consortium are organized into five groups concentrating on different areas relating to antimicrobial materials.

They will examine the design and manufacture of antimicrobial materials, their performance testing, risk assessment, management and cleaning.

“While some materials, such as copper and silver, have recognized antimicrobial properties, there are promising new technologies for use in coatings. In this network, we will evaluate the impact of introducing these in healthcare facilities, their potential for impact on spread of infection, practical aspects of their regulation and use, and possible development of resistance,” Professor Dunne adds.

AMiCI is supported by the European Commission’s Cooperation in Science and Technology program (COST) for four years.

Hempel Gives Notice of Price Increase

With the raw material cost increases of 2016 set to continue into 2017, coatings manufacturer Hempel has announced price increases of certain products.

The cost of many raw materials used in the manufacturing of coatings has increased over the past year. Since January 2016, for example, the cost of copper has risen by 34 per cent and the cost of zinc has gone up by 78 per cent (source: London Metals Exchange and ICIS Pricing). Titanium dioxide, another key raw material, has also shown significant increases in cost.

Raw materials constitute a major part of the cost of manufacturing coatings for the protective, marine and decorative industries – and, while Hempel does everything possible to mitigate these cost increases, there is a limit to how much can be absorbed. Therefore, Hempel has announced that it will increase its prices of selected products.

“There may be regional differences in some raw material costs, but the overall trend is very clearly up,” explains Lars Petersson - Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer. “We have limited the impact to our customers by working proactively with our suppliers, our R&D and our manufacturing set-up, but, as the trend is continuing, we have no other option than to increase the prices of some of our products.”

Ineos to Venture into Auto Manufacturing

Now here is something we don’t see often, a chemical company entering the automobile manufacturing business, even though they have a large footprint in that industry as a supplier.

Following the completion of a six month feasibility study, Ineos confirmed in early February that it is to go ahead and build a brand new “uncompromising” 4 x 4 off-roader. While the company is one of the largest manufacturers in the world, it will be the first time that Ineos has produced such a vehicle.

The company is expecting to spend many hundreds of millions on the project and is determined that the vehicle will not only fill a gap in the market vacated by the Defender but also provide a step change improvement in build quality and reliability. Identification of a suitable manufacturing location will be a part of the next phase of the project and the company will look at UK sites alongside other European options.

The project is to be run by Dirk Heilmann, formerly head of Engineering and Technology at Ineos.

Dirk, now CEO of Ineos Automotive has already started recruiting a team of automotive experts and says, “This is an amazing project for everyone involved. Our job is to create the world’s best 4 x 4 and we are already moving forward with our plans”.

The project is the brainchild of Ineos Chairman, Jim Ratcliffe, who was a fan of the original Land Rover Defender. When it ceased production, Jim saw a gap in the market for an uncompromising off-roader that stood for adventure and active driving but also had the capability to be a work and utility machine.

The vehicle will not be a replica of the Defender but will reflect its philosophy. The target market is global and includes agriculture and forestry workers, explorers and adventurers as well as traditional Defender fans that simply enjoy an authentic 4 x 4 driving experience.

Ineos is determined that its new vehicle will offer a real and pure alternative to the current crop of standardized ‘jelly-mold’ SUV’s.

“I am a great admirer of the old Land Rover Defender and have enormous respect for its off road capability”, says Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos Chairman, “and our new 4 x4 has been inspired by it. But whilst our off-roader might share its spirit, our new car will be a major improvement on previous models”.

Safic-Alcan to Supply Ashland’s Specialty Solvents in France

Safic-Alcan has announced a partnership with Ashland for the resale of their specialty solvents products in France.

The agreement allows Safic-Alcan to resell specialty solvents from Ashland, one of the leading global manufacturers of specialty chemicals.

“We are excited about the opportunity to enlarge our relationship with Ashland and to increase our portfolio with innovative and high quality ingredients. We look forward to providing our customers with the superior technical and application support and to developing a strong presence in the French market”, stated Philippe Combette, CEO of Safic-Alcan.

Curtiss-Wright Acquires Para Tech Coating

Curtiss-Wright’s Surface Technologies (CWST) division announced today that it has completed the acquisition of the net assets of Para Tech Coating, Inc. (Para Tech). With facilities in Aliso Viejo, CA; Middleton, CT and Neenah, WI, Para Tech is a leading provider of parylene conformal coating services for Aerospace & Defense electronic components as well as critical Medical devices.

"We are excited to combine Para Tech’s strong application engineering and equipment manufacturing capabilities with our existing network of parylene coating facilities,” said David Rivellini, Vice President and General Manager, Surface Technologies division. “We now have six locations worldwide providing parylene coating services and the infrastructure to facilitate further international expansion of this unique coating.”

Parylene is a polymeric coating applied by vapor deposition in a vacuum environment to ensure coating purity and integrity. It is well suited to ruggedizing high value printed circuit boards and electronic components due to its combination of high dielectric strength, moisture resistance, thin profile, and transparency. Medical applications also benefit from parylene’s intrinsic properties of lubricity, biocompatibility and resistance to solvents, radiation and bacteria.

Paint Manufacturer Selects ProcessPro Premier Software

ProcessPro, leading mid-market ERP software solution company, announced that Life Paint Company has selected ERP software solution, ProcessPro Premier, to support its growing paint manufacturing operations.

Life Paint based their ERP software selection on ProcessPro’s experience in implementing ERP software for paint and coating manufacturing companies and the industry knowledge of the team at ProcessPro. As well, the adaptive, industry-specific functionality of Premier and its ability to meet their critical needs: lot tracking, real-time visibility of inventory and manufacturing processes, intuitive reporting and GHS compliance, set ProcessPro out from the other vendors.

By factoring in supply, demand and forecasted requirements, ProcessPro’s robust Material Requirements Planning (MRP) functionality, will allow Life Paint to realize efficiencies in planning, scheduling and inventory control within their operations. Achieving greater insight into their inventory and reduction in manual processes is obtainable with these integrated capabilities.

“ProcessPro’s ability to leverage our experience in the paint and coatings industry with our batch processing knowledge allows us to meet the business needs of Life Paint,” stated Joe Blauert, ProcessPro General Manager. “We look forward to helping Life Paint realize efficiencies and growth over the years to come.”

Life Paint Company, a family owned business since 1963, is a premier specialty coatings manufacturer of architectural coatings and house paints. Along with the Life Paint brand, they manufacture widely accepted brand names such as Stretch-Guard®, Life Deck® and Rainshield®.

Huntsman Sues Rockwood

Huntsman Corporation has filed suit against Rockwood Holdings, alleging that the company was misleading about its pigment technology during acquisition talks. Huntsman bought some assets from Rockwood for about USD 1 billion in late 2014, including the some of the company’s pigments division.

In a legal complaint, Huntsman says that Rockwood executives lied about the efficacy of its “Bluebird” technology when they said it would “eliminate reliance on Chinese raw materials and allow Huntsman to close numerous inefficient Rockwood pigment plants that Huntsman…would receive in the deal.”

The complaint states: “Rockwood misrepresented pigments data to Huntsman and lied about the performance of the Bluebird technology, which Rockwood knew did not work.”

The suit names Albemarle — which bought Rockwood in 2015 — as a defendant alongside Rockwood’s former CEO (now the CEO of Air Products) and other Rockwood executives.

Huntsman is seeking a jury trial and to “restore the parties to the status quo ante, or, to the extent that recession is not feasible, rescissory damages in an amount that will be proven at trial.”

As previously reported here, Huntsman is currently in the process of spinning off these pigment operations into a new company called Venator Materials Corporation.

In other news, BASF has announced that the repair work in its Ludwigshafen’s TDI plant is on schedule. TDI is used in wood coatings. BASF expects the final repair work to be completed in 2018. The supply to...more about this

LANXESS had held its third LANXESS Pigments Symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada. LANXESS has opened its new, pigment plant in China, to provide environmentally-friendly pigment production. The IPG unit...more about this

Sun Chemical will exhibit its latest inks for printed electronics, printed circuit boards and electronics manufacturing during LOPEC 2017. The EMD5800 nanosilver inks deliver the best performing...more about this

And finally, new evidence has been building that PBDE replacements, including organophosphate flame retardants, are in the environment and in our bodies. Exposure to at least one of the newer compounds has...more about this

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