News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

November 12, 2015

Carbon Black World conference to be held in Fort Worth in May 2016

Filed under: Carbon Black, Conferences — Notch @ 4:08 pm

Smithers Rapra has scheduled the next Carbon Black World conference for May 25-27, 2016 at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas. More details as they become available.

Cabot to shut down Indonesian carbon black plant

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 1:10 am

Cabot Corporation announced yesterday that it will close its carbon black manufacturing facility in Merak, Indonesia. Cabot anticipates that manufacturing operations will cease by the end of January 2016. This will leave Cabot with one carbon black plant in Indonesia, located in Cilegon.

The decision, which will affect approximately 50 local employees, was driven by the Merak facility’s financial performance over the past few years. Despite efforts to be competitive, the facility has suffered from low utilization rates, according to Cabot. Asia is quickly becoming one regional market and this dynamic has created the need for Cabot’s facilities to be even more cost competitive. As such, Cabot will consolidate production in Asia by ceasing production at our Merak facility and using its Cilegon, Indonesia as well as other Asian and global carbon black production sites to meet the regional demand.

Indonesia remains a strategic country for Cabot’s carbon black business, according to the company. Its tire manufacturing industry supplies growing local and global demand. Cabot is committed to engaging with customers currently served from the Merak plant to determine how best to meet their needs during and after the shutdown of production. Cabot will leverage its global manufacturing reach to continue to offer quality products and technical services to its customers in Indonesia as well as throughout Asia Pacific.

Cabot expects the closure plan will result in a pre-tax charge to earnings of approximately $33 million, of which approximately $8 million of this amount is cash and $25 million is a non-cash charge. Annual savings related to the closure are estimated to be approximately $8 million, of which approximately $5 million is cash.

October 20, 2015

Cabot announces restructuring program including 300 layoffs worldwide

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:40 pm

Cabot Corporation today announced a plan to restructure its operations with anticipated cost savings of approximately $50 million in fiscal 2016 as compared to fiscal 2015. As proposed, the plan would result in the reduction of approximately 300 positions globally and the savings are expected to begin in the second quarter of fiscal 2016.

Commenting on the restructuring plan in a company release, Cabot President and CEO Patrick Prevost, said, “Due to the challenging macroeconomic conditions facing our businesses, including lower oil prices, slowing demand in Asia and South America and less favorable foreign currency exchange rates, we are in need of adjusting our Company’s cost structure to improve our competitiveness. These are difficult decisions because we recognize they will impact our valued employees, their families and the communities where we operate.” The Company expects the restructuring plan, which is subject to local consultation requirements and processes in certain locations, to result in a pre-tax charge to earnings of approximately $35 million, mainly comprised of severance and employee benefits. Net cash outlays related to these actions are expected to be approximately $30 million, substantially all of which is expected to be paid during
fiscal 2016.

Here is the full 8-K announcing the plan.

October 16, 2015

Orion Engineered Carbons acquires majority ownership of Qingdao Evonik Chemical

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:02 am

On October 15, Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. and Evonik Industries AG today announced agreements on transactions where Orion will acquire Evonik’s 52% percent stake as well as Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH’s (DEG) 15% stake in Qingdao Evonik Chemical Co., Ltd. (QECC). QECC is a joint venture established by Evonik, DEG and Jiaozhou Finance Investment Center (JFIC) in 1994 based in Qingdao (Shandong Province), China. It has production capacity of approximately 75,000 tons of carbon black per year. The plant is equipped with three production lines and its main manufacturing focus is on high-end carbon black products. Orion will initially step into the established joint venture in place of Evonik and DEG, but OEC and JFIC are in advanced talks regarding the transfer of JFIC shares to Orion in accordance with regulations governing Chinese state-owned enterprises, which would give Orion full ownership.

“We are pleased with the progress made on bringing this facility back into our global carbon black manufacturing network,” said Jack Clem, CEO of Orion in a press release. “We believe that this acquisition will greatly improve our ability to serve the highly important Chinese market, as well as the rest of Asia-Pacific, over and above the current use of our global network for exports to that region.”

“I am thrilled that our plant in Qingdao will become a key pillar of Orion’s base of operations in APAC, joining our two plants in South Korea and our regional headquarters in Shanghai. This increased presence will enhance our portfolio of innovative products and solutions that are valued by our customers and business partners.”

The agreement is subject to Chinese government review and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015. The European Commission approved Orion’s prospective acquisition of QECC concurrent with its consideration of the sale of Evonik’s Carbon Black business to Rhône Capital and Triton Advisors in 2011. Until the closing, Orion and QECC will continue to operate independently.

October 1, 2015

Cancarb hires European Marketing Manager

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 1:41 pm

Cancarb Limited, the world’s leading producer of medium thermal black, announced today that it has hired a new Manager of European Marketing, Mr. Robert Sikora. Mr. Sikora, who earned a BS in Biochemistry at King’s University in Edmonton, will be responsible for market development and distribution of Thermax medium thermal carbon black in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Here is the full press release.

Solvay details silica expansion plans

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 1:28 pm

European Rubber Journal has an article (subscription required) that details Solvay’s two-year expansion program for its precipitated silica capacity. The program includes a new plant in Poland, which started up this year, as well as a new plant in Korea that is set for startup in 2016. The new capacity is being driven by tire applications due to tire labeling requirements, higher fuel economy ratings for cars and trucks, and efforts by automakers to reduce the carbon footprint of their vehicles. Some of the additional capacity will be dedicated to Efficium, which was launched in February and offers higher productivity and flexibility in manufacturing passenger-car and truck tires, according to Solvay. Together, the new plants in Poland and Korea will add 185 KTPY of new capacity to Solvay’s silica business.

September 25, 2015

New self-repairing rubber does not require vulcanization

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 4:52 pm

According to a report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, scientists have developed a new tire-grade rubber that does not require vulcanization. The new rubber, though unproven as yet in real world conditions, has the potential to repair itself over time.

Using a new simple process that avoids vulcanization altogether, the researchers chemically modified commercial rubber into a durable, elastic material that can fix itself over time. Testing showed that a cut in the material healed at room temperature, a property that could allow a tire to mend itself while parked. And after 8 days, the rubber could withstand a stress of 754 pounds per square inch. Heating it to 212 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 10 minutes accelerated the repair process. The researchers say their product could be further strengthened by adding reinforcing agents such as silica or carbon black.

September 4, 2015

Omsk Carbon Group expands distribution in Europe and Canada

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:00 am

Omsk Carbon Group, Russia’s largest carbon black producer, recently changed the name of its Germany subsidiary from Omsk Carbon Germany to Omsk Carbon Europe GmbH. The change indicates a shift in focus toward the entire European market, particularly Italy, France, and the UK. Omsk Carbon Europe was established in 2012 in Waltrop, North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. In addition to the new name, beginning in 2016, Omsk Carbon Europe will be responsible for all European activities of the group and will coordinate the sales and distribution chain in Europe.

In Canada, Omsk Carbon Group established a new subsidiary, Omsk Carbon Canada, in 2014 in Prescott, Ontario, close to the US border. The transloading station received its first shipment of carbon black from Russia in September 2014. Omsk Carbon Canada was established with the aim of organizing and providing direct official customer service in Canada.

August 31, 2015

Notch updates Carbon Black World Data Book

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 2:45 pm

This month, Notch Consulting published the 2015 edition of the Carbon Black World Data Book, the most widely read and authoritative report on the $16 billion global carbon black industry. Published annually and updated quarterly, this 355-page report provides extensive proprietary data on carbon black supply and demand. The report provides detailed coverage for 26 leading countries, as well as demand for 16 smaller national markets. Historical data are provided for all years from 2004 through 2014, with forecasts for all years through 2020, as well as 2025. Data provided for each country and region include carbon black capacity by company and plant, capacity utilization, production, imports, exports, demand, markets (passenger car tires, truck/bus tires, other tires, non-tire rubber, and specialty blacks), grades (tread, carcass, and other), as well as market value and average pricing. The report is provided in printable PDF format and includes a separate Excel spreadsheet with substantial additional data. Contact Notch Consulting at for more information or to order.

Notch updates report covering global rubber chemicals market

Filed under: Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 1:01 pm

This month, Notch Consulting published a new edition of the Rubber Chemicals Market Update, an annual overview of the global rubber chemicals industry. This report provides current conditions and future prospects for antidegradants (6PPD/IPPD, TMQ, and other antioxidants), accelerators, and other chemicals (including tackifiers, adhesion promoters, reinforcing resins, retarders and antiscorch agents, homogenizing agents, peptizers, and blowing agents). The new issue is 39 pages with 19 tables. As always, the report includes a separate Excel spreadsheet that provides regional demand data, production capacity for leading suppliers, and a list of recent and proposed capacity expansions. The report also provides an overview of the tire and rubber industry, including a status report on recent and proposed expansions in tire plant capacity. The new edition also provides rubber chemical sales by company and major product segment. Contact Notch at for more information or to order.

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