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CELANESE EXPANDS MARKETING OF POM
Plastic Geras POM

Celanese expands marketing portfolio of polyoxymethylene (POM) after the restructure of Korea Engineering Plastics (KEP), a 50/50 joint venture with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, according to a recent press release.

KEP was established in 1987 to manufacture POM in Asia, focusing on domestic demand in South Korea.

The recent restructure means KEP “will now focus solely on manufacturing and supplying quality products to its shareholders, who will independently market them globally and without competitive restrictions,” said the press release.

“With the completion of this restructuring, Celanese now has access to world-scale POM polymerization capabilities globally, with committed access to approximately 70kta of POM production in Asia and corresponding global marketing rights,” said Tom Kelly, Senior Vice President, Celanese Engineered Materials.

Celanese Corporation is an American technology and specialty materials company headquartered in Irving, Texas.

POM, also known as acetal or polyacetal, is an engineering thermoplastics used to make gears, sliding parts, and housing parts and many other applications.

CELANESE AND MITSUBISHI TEAM UP ON RECYCLED POM
recycling smbol

Celanese and Mitsubishi Chemical will collaborate to develop recycling solutions for polyoxymethylene (POM), according to a recent press release.

The plan will serve to satisfy demand for recycled content and “carbon dioxide reductions.”

The joint endeavour will see the development of mechanical recycling for both post-industrial and post-consumer source of POM.

In 2020, Celanese introduced a mass-balanced, bio-based POM. Named POM ECO-B, it provides customers with the benefit of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. POM ECO-B remains commercially available.

The collaboration with Mitsubishi will see the development of a recycled content option of up to 30 percent, named POM ECO-R.

Bio-based POM content and recycled POM makes POM an ideal engineered material to meet sustainability goals, said Tom Kelly, Celanese Senior Vice President, Engineered Materials.

POLYPLASTICS WILL INCREASE POM PRODUCTION
The plastic gears

Polyplastics will increase POM production with a plant in Nantong, China, according to a recent note by owner Daicel. The document on the website says the new POM plant will have a capacity of 90,000 metric tons per year.

The plant will start production in 2024 and will serve to meet the growing demand in China. In addition, the note says its 60,000 metric ton per year plant in China will be relocated. The relocation is part of a plan to meet China’s environmental policy.

Daicel bought 45% share of Polyplastics in 2020 from Celanese to became 100% owner. Daicel, based in Japan, produces high-performance chemicals. The company operates business also in celluloid technologies, organic chemicals, polymers and pyrotechnic devices.

POM SUPPLY BECOMES CRITICAL IN EUROPE
POM Plastic

POM supply becomes critical in Europe as buyers continue to struggle to meet their requirements. The situation is so severe for some that they have had to rely on traders. And of course prices have jumped to very high levels.

The European polyoxymethylene (POM) market experienced strong demand during the pandemic. And like all other engineering resins lately costs have increased in line with the spike in energy prices. But more critical, a reliance on Asian imports left the market vulnerable.

The high freight rates resulted in delays, uncertainty, and less competitive imports. In addition to this, Grupa Azoty S.A. decided to discontinue production of POM. The production capacity was small at around 15kt/pa but most certainly added further strain on supply.

During the past few weeks, the market took a turn for the worse as energy prices started to push up costs. Celanese reacted by announcing a surcharge of €500/mt. The shortage of supply will help producers pass on the higher cost of utilities.

As a result of the many changes in the market, a big price gap has developed. For those buyers that need emergency supply and have to rely on traders, prices are above €4,000/mt. But the Q4 copolymer contract prices is lower than this but nevertheless high at €2,500/mt.

TRINSEO SEEKS UTILITIES SURCHARGE

Trinseo seeks utilities surcharge of €200-300/mt on styrenics and polycarbonates products from 1 November.


Trinseo will implement €200/mt surcharge on the following products: styrene monomer (SM); polystyrene (PS); styrene acrylonitrile (SAN); and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).

However, a surcharge of €300/mt will be implemented on polycarbonate (PC), PC/ABS Resins, and ABS Long Glass Fiber (ABS LGF).

The company noted that “these surcharges are in response to unprecedented and escalating pressure from energy prices and apply to all current agreements and contracts.”

Trinseo is not the only company to have take the step to implement surcharges in response to the spike in energy prices.

Many other polymer producers are taking the same step. For example, Celanese is applying a surcharge of €500/mt on POM.

If energy prices will continue to increase amid short supply of many polymers, producers will probably succeed in passing on the extra costs.

The higher energy costs adds yet another factor fuelling volatility across the entire value chain of the polymer industry.

As the increasing turmoil in many markets reduces visibility further, many players expect a prolonged volatile period ahead.

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