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Newsletter Feb 2024

News Summary

Sorbitol

Africa achieved its first cassava based sorbitol factory

Hydrogen Peroxide

Evonik Acquires Thai Peroxide Co. Ltd.

Caustic Soda

New chemical plant set to be constructed in Kazakhstan’s Turkestan

White Petroleum Jelly

Unilever Nigeria Plc shuts down its skin cleaning and homecare division

Glycerine

DGTR Holds Hearing on Anti-Dumping Probe into Epichlorohydrin Imports from Korea, Thailand, and China

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Sorbitol

Africa achieved its first cassava-based sorbitol factory

Psaltry International Limited (PIL), in collaboration with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and Unilever Nigeria, has inaugurated Africa’s first cassava-based sorbitol factory. Oyo State Governor Makinde emphasized the significance of this venture, stating, “This is another value addition to cassava, which Oyo State is known to produce in large quantity.”


Korean government worries about the growing toothpick eating trend

The South Korean Food and Drug Safety Ministry has issued a warning to citizens regarding the potentially harmful trend of eating deep-fried toothpicks on social media. In Korea, toothpicks are typically made from corn starch or potato starch mixed with sorbitol and alum, along with artificial colorants. The ministry has clarified that toothpicks are intended as sanitary products rather than food, and consuming them can cause diarrhea. It is advisable to avoid overconsumption of them.

Menthol

Biden Administration still delaying the menthol flavored cigarettes ban

The Biden Administration is yet to implement the ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes in the USA. In 2022, the FDA started regulating the use of menthol as a flavor in cigarettes. The agency submitted its report to the White House in November, but the administration is still delaying the ban due to opposition from certain left-wing black civil activist groups. According to the study, 85% of black smokers use menthol-flavored cigarettes, while only 30% of white smokers do so. Menthol-based cigarettes are also popular among young Americans aged between 18 and 25. The Democratic Party relies heavily on the black community as their core vote bank. This is why the proposed ban on menthol flavored cigarettes is still being delayed, as it would have a significant impact on this demographic. However, this delay has caused uncertainty in the tobacco, cigarette, and menthol markets in the USA.

Glycerine

DGTR Holds Hearing on Anti-Dumping Probe into Epichlorohydrin Imports from Korea, Thailand, and China

An oral hearing has been scheduled by the DGTR, India, on February 8, 2024, to address an anti-dumping investigation regarding epichlorohydrin (ECH) imports from China, Korea, and Thailand. Meghmani Finechem Limited initiated the investigation, alleging that the dumped ECH imports from these countries are impeding the growth of the local industry. The applicant claims that ECH produced domestically is identical to that imported, and that bio-based glycerine or propylene can be used as an upstream chemical to manufacture ECH. It is important to note that Meghmani Finechem Limited uses biobased glycerine in its production process. The hearing’s outcome will have a significant impact on ECH and its associated upstream and downstream chemicals in the Indian market.

Caustic Soda

DCM Shriram signs MoU with Gujarat govt to invest Rs 12,000 crore by 2028

On January 3, 2024, DCM Shriram Ltd., a leading chloroalkali manufacturer in India, inked a significant pact with the Gujarat government during the Gujarat summit. The agreement entails a substantial investment of Rs 12,000 crore by 2028 in its Bharuch plant, with the dual objective of job creation and meeting market demands. DCM Shriram’s diverse portfolio, spanning chloroalkali, agri-rural, and value added services, reflects its commitment to multifaceted business. This strategic move aligns with the company’s vision to enhance capabilities and introduce new products in the chloralkali division, contributing to regional economic development and catering to evolving market needs.


New chemical plant set to be constructed in Kazakhstan’s Turkestan

Innovative Complex Sastobe Company is building a new plant in Kazakhstan that will produce caustic soda, polyvinyl chloride, and calcium carbide. The Bank of Kazakhstan is providing financial assistance for this project. The total cost of the project is KZT 153.88 billion, out of which the Bank of Kazakhstan is contributing KZT 64.46 billion. The main objective of the project is to meet the demand for these products in the domestic market and create job opportunities. Once fully operational, the plant will have the capacity to produce 100,000 tons of caustic soda, 120,000 tons of PVC, and 180,000 tons of calcium carbide every year. Additionally, the plant has the potential to export these chemicals to the European Union, China, and Turkey, besides catering to the domestic demand.


GACL and Vedant Ltd. agreed to an MOU to explore mutual opportunities

A non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited and Vendant Ltd. to explore various collaborative opportunities in complementary industries. The MOU aims to explore mutual business opportunities and meet each other’s business needs. GACL is involved in caustic soda, caustic potash, liquid chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, chloromethanes, and aluminum chloride manufacturing, while Vedanta is a leading player in the aluminum business. The exploration may come in the form of a joint venture or agreement that will be advantageous to both parties. After the MOU was signed, GACL’s stock experienced a 3% increase.


First Caustic Soda Factory in Angola

On January 8th, Deutsche Bank and the Angolan company Salinas de Calombolo signed a project to establish Angola’s first caustic soda and calcium hypochlorite factory in Benguela province. The project will be financed by Deutsche Bank through a credit line of €24,831,412. The factory will cover an area of 5,000 square meters and will produce chemicals required for soap production, water treatment, and surfactant disinfection applications. The factory will also help to reduce the country’s import dependency for sodium hypochlorite, caustic soda, and hydrochloric acid, which currently cost around $650 million annually.

White Petroleum Jelly

Unilever Nigeria Plc shuts down its skin cleaning and homecare division

In the unaudited interim financial statements for December 2023, Unilever Nigeria Plc ceased its homecare and skin cleaning business. The factory buildings are now leased to a third party for the next 10 years. This facility produced baby care soaps, Lux soaps, washing products, and Vaseline petroleum jelly. Unilever Nigeria’s exit from this segment will notably affect the petroleum jelly and related intermediate chemicals market in Nigeria.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Killeen chemical plant planning to double its Hydrogen Peroxide production capacity

MGC Pure Chemicals America, a company based in Japan, has announced that it will invest $100 million in its Killeen chemical plant expansion project in Texas. The plant specializes in producing super-pure hydrogen peroxide that is used in the semiconductor industry. Clients like Samsung use it to clean electronic components. In early 2023, MPCA bought five acres of land next to the existing site in Killeen Business Park, in anticipation of the expansion. The project aims to increase the current capacity of the Killeen facility by double to meet the growing demand for hydrogen peroxide in the semiconductor industry of the region.


FDA Facilitates Broader Adoption of Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide for Medical Device Sterilization

On January 8th, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its guidelines for medical device sterilization methods used in premarket applications. The administration has now reclassified vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) from Category B to Category A, recognizing it as a highly effective sterilization agent for medical devices. Historically, ethylene oxide (EtO) has been the most commonly used sterilizing agent in the USA, with over 20 billion medical devices being sterilized using EtO, accounting for approximately 50% of all sterilized devices. This updated classification by the FDA will encourage medical device manufacturers to seek alternatives to EtO and consider using VHP to sterilize their devices. Additionally, this change could have a positive impact on the hydrogen peroxide market in the USA in the future.


Evonik Acquires Thai Peroxide Co., Ltd.

Evonik, a leading global specialty chemicals company, has recently announced its full acquisition of Thai Peroxide Company Ltd. (TPL), and peracetic acid in Saraburi, Thailand. The acquisition was completed on December 15, with the aim of strengthening Evonik’s leadership in the Asia-Pacific market demand for these chemicals. TPL offers specialty hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid solutions for various applications, such as microchip and solar cell production, wastewater treatment, and food safety. Previously, TPL was a joint venture between PeroxyChem and Aditya Birla Group until Evonik purchased PeroxyChem in February 2020 and held a 50% share of TPL. With this acquisition, Evonik is poised to further expand its strength in the peroxide market in the Asia-Pacific region.


Solvay Expands Hydrogen Peroxide Production in China to Meet Growing Photovoltaic Demand

Solvay has announced that it will be expanding its hydrogen peroxide production capacity at the Shandong Huatai Interox Chemical site in Dongying Technical and Economic Development Zone, located in the Shandong Province of North China. This site is a joint venture between Solvay and Huatai Chemical. The expansion is being carried out to meet the increasing demand for hydrogen peroxide for photovoltaics in China, where it is used as a cleaning agent. The plan is to produce 48,000 MT of photovoltaic-grade hydrogen peroxide per year by 2025. This investment will help Solvay to maintain its global leadership in the hydrogen peroxide market while also contributing to China’s carbon neutrality mission.


Titanium Dioxide

Illinois Senate Considers Ban on Controversial Food Additives Amid Health Concerns

In Illinois, USA, lawmakers proposed a bill to ban five food additives, namely brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, proylparaben,red dye No. 3, and titanium dioxide. Supporters argue these additives can cause health issues like hyperactivity and an increased cancer risk. They also mention that the aim isn’t to ban food products but to encourage safer ingredients. The National Confectioner’s Association opposes the bill, preferring the FDA’s scientific evaluation. The FDA, which supports titanium dioxide safety, still doesn’t comment on this legislation. The bill is now in the Illinois Senate. But it has created hesitation in the state’s titanium dioxide market. The EU and California have already banned these additives.