Chemtura Announces Expansion of Its Urethanes Business into High-Performance Thermoplastic Polyurethane Products
5/15/2013 11:00:00 PM - Article #50429 PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Chemtura Corporation (NYSE/EuroNext Paris: CHMT), a world leader in hot-cast urethane pre-polymers, today announced the launch of its thermoplastic polyurethane product line under the Ultralast™ brand. “The unique formulation of our Ultralast Thermoplastic Urethanes allows plastic manufacturers to achieve superior performance by utilizing Chemtura's cast urethanes technology”
“The unique formulation of our Ultralast Thermoplastic Urethanes allows plastic manufacturers to achieve superior performance by utilizing Chemtura's cast urethanes technology,” said Matthew Hellstern, president and general manager of the Urethanes business.
Ultralast products are based on Chemtura's proprietary low free (LF) technology, which helps to eliminate undesired reactions. This well-defined polymer structure results in improved properties and easier processing. Chemtura's leadership in cast urethanes, with more than 300 prepolymer products under the Adiprene® / Vibrathane® / Duracast® brands, has allowed it to leverage its cutting-edge urethane technologies in designing its Ultralast products.
“We are proud of this addition to our urethanes portfolio, which signifies a commitment to innovation that allows our customers to be more successful in their industries,” Hellstern said.
Ultralast Thermoplastic Urethanes are commercially available in North America through Chemtura's current urethanes sales (www.chemtura-ultralast.com) and channel partner Adiprene Direct (www.adiprenedirect.com). More information is also available by contacting Ultralast customer service (firstname.lastname@example.org).
By Casey Sullivan
Wed May 15, 2013 9:55pm EDT
(Reuters) - A federal judge in Kansas City, Kansas, ordered Dow Chemical Co on Wednesday to pay $1.2 billion in a price-fixing case involving chemicals used to make foam products in cars, furniture and packaging, according to court documents.
Dow was one of several chemical company defendants named in a 2005 class action lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to fix urethane chemical prices, but it was the only defendant not to settle.
In January, Dow went to trial in Kansas City and in February a federal jury rendered a $400 million verdict against the chemical company after finding that it conspired to fix prices of urethane.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum denied Dow's request to overturn that verdict and the $400 million in damages were tripled under U.S. antitrust law, bringing Dow's overall payment to $1.2 billion.
David Bernick, an attorney for Dow, said he would appeal the judgment, saying the statistical formula used by an expert to calculate the price-fixing was not reliable.
"Dow looks forward to pursuing these and other grounds for reversal in its appeal," a Dow spokesman said in a news release. "Dow has always denied plaintiffs' allegations of price fixing."
Joe Goldberg, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he was pleased with the judgment.
"The jury found the conspiracy caused approximately $400 million in damages to thousands of businesses around the United States," said Goldberg.
Other defendants in the case have settled. In 2006 Bayer AG agreed to pay $55 million. In 2011 Huntsman International LLC agreed to pay $33 million and BASF Corp agreed to pay $51 million. In settling, none of the companies admitted any wrongdoing.
The case is In Re Urethane Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, 04-md-01616.
(Reporting By Casey Sullivan; Editing by Bill Trott)
Flame retardant nanocoating is safer and 'greener'
|(Nanowerk News) Amid concerns over the potential health effects of existing flame retardants for home furniture, fabrics and other material, scientists are reporting development of an “exceptionally” effective new retardant that appears safer and more environmentally friendly.|
Scientists have developed an “exceptionally” effective new retardant that appears safer and more environmentally friendly — ideal for the polyurethane foam in couches and bedding that causes many fire deaths. Their report on the first-of-its-kind coating, ideal for the polyurethane foam in couches and bedding that causes many fire deaths, appears in ACS Macro Letters ("Exceptionally Flame Retardant Sulfur-Based Multilayer Nanocoating for Polyurethane Prepared from Aqueous Polyelectrolyte Solutions").
Jaime Grunlan and colleagues explain that upholstery furniture and mattresses are the items that ignite in about 17,000 fires each year, causing more than 870 deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property loss. Since the polyurethane foam in these items is highly flammable, consumer protection agencies have issued stringent safety standards to reduce flammability. But health and environmental concerns exist over some of the traditional flame retardants that manufacturers add to meet those standards. Grunlan’s team thus set out to develop safer, more environmentally benign flame retardants.
A steeper-than-expected rise in US shale oil reserves is about to change the global balance of power between new and existing producers, a report says.
Over the next five years, the US will account for a third of new oil supplies, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The US will change from the world's leading importer of oil to a net exporter.
Demand for oil from Middle-East oil producers is set to slow as a result.
"North America has set off a supply shock that is sending ripples throughout the world," said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven.
The surge in US production will reshape the whole industry, according to the IEA, which made the prediction in its closely-watched bi-annual report examining trends in oil supply and demand over the next five years.
The IEA said it expected the US to overtake Russia as the world's biggest gas producer by 2015 and to become "all but self-sufficient" in its energy needs by about 2035.
The rise in US production means the world's reliance on oil from traditional oil producing countries in the Middle East, which make up Opec (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), would end soon, according to the report.Slower growth
US production is set to grow by 3.9 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) from 2012 to 2018, accounting for some two-thirds of the predicted growth in traditional non-Opec production, according to the IEA.
"The regional fallout from the 'Arab Spring' is taking a toll on investment and capacity growth”
Meanwhile, global oil demand is set to increase by 8% which would be met mainly by non-Opec supplies, the report said
The IEA still expects production capacity among traditional Opec suppliers in the Middle East to continue to grow over the next five years, but at a slower rate.
Opec capacity, which counts for 35% of today's global oil output, is expected to rise by 1.75 million bpd to 36.75 million bpd in 2018, about 750,000 bpd less than predicted in the IEA's 2012 forecast.
The IEA cites the "growing insecurity in North and Sub-Saharan Africa" in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings as a key reason for the slowdown.
"The regional fallout from the 'Arab Spring' is taking a toll on investment and capacity growth," the IEA said.Fracking
The sharp rise in US oil production is largely thanks to shale oil, a product many have hailed as the saviour of the US energy market.
Fracking, the process of blasting water at high pressure into shale rock to release oil (or gas) held within it, has become widespread in the US.
But critics of shale oil point to environmental concerns such as high water use and possible water contamination, the release of methane and, to a lesser extent, earth tremors caused by drilling.
The process has been banned in France, while the UK recently lifted a moratorium on drilling for shale gas.
COIM Brazii completes the expansion of its industrial site
Vinhedo, Brazil, May 13, 2013
COlM Brazil Ltda„ a fully owned subsidiary of the global polyurethane chemical producer COlM spa,
announces today it has successfully completed the expansion of its production site located in Vinhedo,
Brazil. “This expansion includes additional capacity for flexible packaging adhesives (Novacote) as Well
Cast Elastomers (imuthane) and special Alkidic resins (Glicexter). The new production units are equipped
with the most advanced engineering and this investment marks another significant step of the Groups
commitment to Brazil and the Latin America market” said Jose Paulo Victorio _General Manager of
J. David Ake/AP - Small business owners are concerned that the structure of a new tax on insurers will translate into significantly higher health care premiums.
Many small-business owners worry that a new tax on insurance providers in the health-care law will mean higher premiums for them, undermining the law’s capacity to lower their health-care costs.
Starting next year, the federal government will charge a new fee on health insurance firms based on the plans they sell to individuals and companies, known as the fully insured market. Meanwhile, the provision exempts health-insurance plans that are set up and operated by businesses themselves (the self-insured market).
Revenue from the tax will help pay for the health-care overhaul, which is expected to extend coverage to millions of uninsured or underinsured Americans.
However, because most large corporations self-insure their workforce, experts warn that insurance companies will pass the costs directly to small businesses. The vast majority purchase coverage in the fully insured market.
“Insurers have confirmed back to me that the tax will be passed down to consumers, and the direct impact will be staggering,” Ryan Thorn, owner of a small insurance planning firm near Salt Lake City, told lawmakers during a congressional hearing Thursday. “It disproportionately hits individuals and small-business owners, the people who have been hurt most by these challenging times.”
During his testimony, Thorn read letters from his small-business clients about the likely impact of the new health insurance tax. One wrote that the tax “scares the daylights out of us,” while another warned that it would likely “hasten the decision to move away from providing group coverage for our employees.”
The Department of Health and Human Services reports that among private businesses that offer health insurance, three of every four firms with between 100 and 500 employees purchase coverage in the fully insured market. The number jumped to 87 percent for firms with fewer than 100 workers.
On the other hand, 82 percent of large firms (500 or more employees) run their own health insurance programs.
Robert Zirkelback, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group for insurance providers, acknowledged that small firms will likely “shoulder most of the burden” of the tax. Meanwhile, a new minimum-coverage requirement for employers with 50 or more workers will be broader than what some of them already offer, he said, which could further increase their costs as they are forced to supplement their current plans.
A new study by the National Federation of Independent Business, which has long pushed back against the health-care law, suggests that the health-care tax could reduce private-sector employment by several hundred thousand jobs over the next decade, more than half of which would come from small businesses. Based on its forecasts, the toll on gross domestic product could reach as high as $185 billion.
Paul Van de Water, an economist with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, took issue with parts of the study, saying that the model does not account for higher compensation for employees in the form of better health coverage. He disputed the claim that the tax would eliminate jobs, too, citing estimates from the Congressional Budget Office that any changes in employment because of the health-care law will be negligible.
But even if the tax has some negative side effects, he said, that is the price the country must pay to improve the health-care system.
“No one likes taxes, per se, but we raise taxes to raise revenues to pay for things that we want to pay for,” Van de Water told members of the House Small Business Committee. “In this case, we are paying for an expansion of health-care coverage to 27 million Americans.”
Nevertheless, the concerns from small-business owners and insurance companies have prompted lawmakers to introduce bills that would repeal the health insurance tax — one from Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and another from Reps. Charles W. Boustany Jr. (R-La.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah).
Business lobbying groups from the manufacturing, construction and farming sectors have supported those efforts, citing similar concerns about the likely impact on their health insurance premiums.
In its latest forecast, the International Sleep Products Assn. has slashed its projected dollar growth this year to just 3% and predicts unit sales will grow a modest 1.5%.
The spring forecast provides a fresh look at ISPA's thinking, which is more pessimistic than it was in the fall, when the last forecast was issued.
At that time, ISPA's Forecast Panel envisioned 6.3% dollar growth in 2013 and 2.3% unit growth. It was even more bullish on 2014 prospects, calling for 8.5% dollar gains that year and 4.5% growth in units.
But now ISPA sees more modest growth this year and next year. Its new look at 2014 envisions 6% dollar growth and 4% unit growth.
ISPA said it is scaling back its 2013 forecast "in part due to the possible effects of the sequester on consumption and employment in the second quarter of the year."
The bedding industry's trade association is predicting a 1.5% rise in average unit prices this year and a 2% rise in average unit prices in 2014, "roughly tracking consumer price inflation," ISPA said.
In its commentary on its latest forecasts, ISPA noted that 2012 went into the books "as another year of uninspired recovery, registering an annual average real GDP growth rate of 2.2%."
"Unlike other ISPA forecasts, however, projecting how the U.S. economy will perform in the future is especially challenging because that will depend to a large extent on how Congress and the President resolve a number of significant political and fiscal issues," ISPA said.
It said the baseline industry forecast, based on an outlook for the national economy prepared by the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics at the University of Michigan, assumes that the budget cuts imposed by the sequester will go into effect and that politicians will eventually reach a budget deal to replace the sequester - and that the budget will contain modest tax increases in 2014 and 2015, while pushing some of the spending cuts into the future.
Based on those assumptions, ISPA said, it believes the U.S. economy resumed measured growth in the first quarter of 2013 but will decelerate again in the second quarter when the sequester cuts bite. But as the sequester effects subside after mid-2013 and residential construction picks up, GDP is expected to accelerate "and keep its healthy pace throughout the forecast horizon."
The members of ISPA's Statistics Committee make up the ISPA Forecast Panel. Those mattress producers and component suppliers review the baseline forecast from the University of Michigan and factor in their insights on current market developments to develop their forecasts.
BASF Plans Production of Butanediol From Renewable Feedstock Using Genomatica Technology
-- Licensing the patented production process from Genomatica -- Targeting large scale commercial production of renewable butanediol -- Further enhancing BASF's portfolio with a renewable-based product
LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany and SAN DIEGO, May 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BASF plans to begin production of 1,4-butanediol based on renewable feedstock (renewable BDO) using the patented process of Genomatica, San Diego, California. The one-step fermentation process is based on sugars as a renewable feedstock. The companies have agreed not to disclose financial details of the agreement.
The license agreement allows BASF to build a world-scale production facility that will use the Genomatica process to manufacture BDO based on renewable feedstock. Under the terms of the agreement, Genomatica will continue to advance its patented renewable BDO production process technology based on sugars while BASF will produce renewable BDO, which will be available in the second half of 2013 for sampling and trials.
"We chose the Genomatica process because we consider it to be exceptionally advanced and reliable," said Sanjeev Gandhi, President of BASF Intermediates division, and added: "In line with our 'We create chemistry' strategy, we aim to offer renewable BDO and create additional value for our customers, in the plastics, textile and automotive industries."
"We are pleased to cooperate with BASF, the leading global BDO manufacturer with a worldwide manufacturing and sales network and many years of market experience," said Christophe Schilling, Chief Executive Officer of Genomatica, and continued: "This agreement highlights Genomatica's commitment to delivering innovative process technologies to the global chemical industry."
BDO and its derivatives are widely used for producing plastics, solvents, electronic chemicals and elastic fibers. The starting materials for the production of conventional BDO are natural gas, butane, butadiene and propylene. BASF currently produces BDO and BDO-equivalents at its sites in Ludwigshafen, Germany; Geismar, Louisiana; Chiba, Japan; Kuantan, Malaysia; and Caojing, China, and has an annual capacity of 535,000 metric tons. BASF has recently announced the intention of building a BDO complex in China with a capacity of 100,000 annual metric tons.
With world-scale production facilities in Geismar, Louisiana, BASF has a strong presence in the CASE market via the direct and distribution sales channels. The addition of Chemroy Canada Inc. in Canada strengthens BASF's presence, and further emphasizes the strategic importance of the CASE market segment.
"Chemroy looks forward to developing new applications and business for the CASE market in Canada. With BASF's comprehensive portfolio and North American production assets, we can help customers in both existing and new product development," said Andres Pugi, VP of Chemroy Canada Inc.
BASF is a market leader in polyurethanes and supplies Lupranate® aromatic MDI and TDI isocyanates and Pluracol® polyether and graft copolymer polyols. With a comprehensive portfolio of isocyanates and polyether polyols for the CASE industry, these products can be formulated to create a variety of coatings, adhesive, sealant, elastomer and other specialty products.
To learn more about the Lupranate® and Pluracol® product lines visitwww.polyurethanes.basf.us
For more information on Chemroy Canada Inc. visitwww.chemroy.ca