Thursday, August 28, 2014

Plasticizer Sales

The United States company, Ferro, reported plasticizer sales in its 2013 annual report that were 10% less than the company's 2012 sales.  Ferro had in 2013 substantial plasticizer sales ($292.6 million) with respect to its other product sales, and therefore reported these plasticizer sales separately as segment sales data. 

Much of Ferro plasticizer sales are phthalates.  Unfortunately, for Ferro sales, some phthalates have been barred from use due to health effect concerns, and according to Ferro’s 2013 annual report the company's decrease in plasticizer sales from 2012 to 2013 was driven by changing environmental regulations related to plasticizers.  It is likely that other companies that sell phthalates plasticizers are also experiencing decreased, flat, or, at best, small increases in plasticizer sales.

Eastman also sells plasticizers, but most, if not all, of their plasticizer sales are non-phthalate plasticizers.   According to Eastman’s 2013 annual report, their major non-phthalate plasticizer product increased in sales by 25% from 2012 to 2013.  Eastman states it is the world’s largest non-phthalate plasticizer manufacturer.  This 25% Eastman sales increased for non-phthalate plasticizers probably indicates a shift in demand from phthalate to non-phthalate plasticizers (which the Ferro data above also supports).  With this demand shift, other companies, such as Evonik, Laxness, and Perstorp, have initiated non-phthalate product manufacturing and sales.

In addition to plasticizer product markets based on phthalate and non-phthalates, a third plasticizer market is based on plasticizers derived from bio-based chemicals.  Such large public companies as BASF, Dow, DuPont, and DSM have developed, or are developing, bio-based plasticizer products.   However, because the sales of these bio-based products are such a small percentage of the companies' sales, no data can be found in the companies’ annual reports on how well these products are selling.

Phthalates account for most of plasticizer use and this is likely to continue for some time, since much use seems to  be in a way with very low, if any, health threats.  Bio-based plasticizers would probably have to have equal performance and cost materially less before they gain much market share from phthalates and non-phthalates.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticle Products

Much research has demonstrated several uses for titanium dioxide nanoparticles.  A search of the Internet and scientific article databases will find hundreds of articles reporting on possible uses of titanium dioxide nanoparticles, based on its properties.  These properties and uses include:

1.  The ability to reduce (decompose) dirt, pollutants, bacteria, and other materials that land on the titanium dioxide nanoparticle surface.  Sunlight striking the nanoparticle surface generates free radicals, which then breakup (reduce, destroy) dirt, pollutants, and other materials.   With this property, titanium dioxide nanoparticles can be used in coating products applied to glass, textile, and other surfaces to counter these materials.
2.  The ability to reflect ultraviolet rays so that these rays do not pass through a coating of titanium dioxide nanoparticles.  With this property, titanium dioxide nanoparticles can be used in sun screening protection products.
3.  The ability to act as a semiconductor material.  With this property, titanium dioxide nanoparticles are finding use in solar cell products

An Internet search for actual products being offered by companies finds products being marketed on the basis of these titanium dioxide nanoparticle properties.  However, much fewer such products are found than might be expected.

A likely explanation for these fewer-than-expected titanium dioxide nanoparticle products is the cost of current methods for producing the nanoparticles.  Another possible explanation might be the concern over the yet-to-be-determined safety of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in certain uses.

Both of these situations - the current cost-prohibitive processes for making titanium dioxide nanoparticles and their possible adverse health effects in certain uses - have been the subject of a lot of recent research

Research that finds less costly production methods and increased assurances of titanium dioxide nanoparticle safety probably will lead to more titanium dioxide nanoparticle products.

Two recent research results that seem favorable for more titanium dioxide nanoparticle products are a less costly method for producing titanium dioxide nanoparticles, reported by the US Department of Energy's Sandia Laboratories, and the lack of adverse health effects in certain titanium dioxide nanoparticle use situations, reported by German universities.   Click here and here to read about this research.  

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles have different physical properties than those for another form of titanium dioxide - the form that has been used for dozens of years as a pigment in paints and other materials to provide white color to the materials.  Click here (PDF file) for an overview of titanium dioxide pigment and nanoparticle characteristics and uses.

According to one major producer of titanium dioxide, the production (use) of titanium dioxide nanoparticles is only about 1% of that of titanium dioxide pigment (click here to read this producer’s estimate).  Recent use (production) estimates for the pigment is about 5 million metric tons, so recent titanium dioxide nanoparticles use is estimated to be about 50,000 metric tons (1% times 5 million metric tons). 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Recent Crop Protection Chemicals Sales Growth

In my last blog “Recent Composite Materials Sales Growth” (posted on August 8, 2014), I presented an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1% for composite materials sales.  This 3.1% is based on the 2011 to 2013 composite materials sales of six companies, companies that are believed to dominate global composite materials sales.

Using the same approach as in this last blog, I now have determined the CAGR for crop protection chemical sales by nine companies (BASF; American Vanguard; FMC; Chemtura; Cheminova; Syngenta; Bayer CropScience; Nufarm; and Isagro).  The average CAGR for these nine companies from 2011 to 2013 is 5.8%.  These nine companies include many of the companies with the largest global crop protection chemical sales, such as Syngenta, Bayer CropScience, and BASF.  Other large crop protection sales companies such a Dow and DuPont could not be included in the CAGR computation because their annual reports do not separate out only crop protection chemical sales from other agricultural-related businesses such as seeds sales.

However, the nine companies likely represent a significant amount of total global crop protection sales, and the 5.8% CAGR amount probably is a reasonably close percentage for the global demand increase for crop protection chemicals over the last 3 years (2011 to 2013).   Such a percentage, it seems to me, can be a useful benchmark for global crop protection sales companies to measure their sales performance by.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Recent Composite Materials Sales Growth

Recent composite materials sales growth for six companies (Cytec; Hexcel; Toray; Teijin; Mitsubishi Chemicals; and SGL) was determined using the 2011 to 2013 annual reports for these companies.  For each of the six companies, the composite materials sales are reported as separate business segments.  Therefore, fairly accurate sales for just composite materials are obtainable for these companies. 

These six companies are believed to account for a significant proportion of total global composite materials sales.  (Hexcel’s description of its composite materials business provides what is met by the terms composite materials in this blog.  You can read this description in the Hexcel 2013 annual report by clicking here – PDF file.)

Using the annual 2011 to 2013 sales of composite materials for these companies, an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1% was obtained for the six companies.  This suggests that the growth of composite materials demand (need) in the countries serviced by the six companies is approximately 3% per year over the past few years.   3% does not suggest robust sales (demand).  The total 2013 sales of composite materials sales by these six companies provided in their annual reports is approximately $6.5 billion.

I specialize in finding and analyzing chemical industry data and statistics and then developing interesting insights based on the analyses.  Please email me if you think I can be of service to you.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Chemical and Material Shortage Alert – July 2014

The purpose of this blog is to identify chemical and material shortages reported on the Internet.  The sources of the information reported here are primarily news releases issued on the Internet.  The issue period of the news releases is July 2014.

Section I below lists those chemicals and materials that were on the previous Chemical and Material Shortage Alert list and continue to have news releases indicating they are in short supply. Click here to read the June 2014 Chemical and Material Shortage Alert list.

Section II lists the new chemicals and materials (not on the June alert).  Also provided is some explanation for the shortage and geographical information.  This blog attempts to list only actual shortage situations – those shortages that are being experienced during the period covered by the news releases.   Chemicals and materials identified in news releases as only being in danger of being in short supply status are not listed.

Section I.   Chemicals and materials that continue from June to be reported as in short supply are: iron ore (India).

Section II.   Shortages Reported in July not found on the Previous Month’s List

Benzene:  United States; production not keeping up with demand, due to lower petroleum processing.
Vinyl acetate:  United States; production not keeping up with demand.

Reasons for Section II shortages can be broadly categorized as: 

1.  Mining not keeping up with demand: none
2.  Production not keeping up with demand: benzene; vinyl acetate
3.  Government regulations: none
4.  Sources no longer available:  none
5.  Insufficient imports:  none
6.  Supply not keeping up with demand:  none