Chemicals giant looks to invest in Asia-Pacific

German chemicals giant BASF has unveiled its plans for a major investment drive in the Asia-Pacific region, where it hopes to take advantage of above-average growth to more than double its sales.

BASF, which currently generates around 16 percent of its revenues in Asia Pacific, announced plans to invest 10 billion euros ($13 billion) there by the end of the decade and create up to 9,000 new jobs.

The German giant said it aims to generate annual sales of 25 billion euros in the region by 2020, up from 11.7 billion euros in 2012.

More than 2.0 billion in regional sales would be achieved through new business and acquisitions by 2020.

In 2012, BASF booked total worldwide sales of 72.1 billion euros on a workforce of 110,000.

The cumulative annual growth rate for real chemical production for Asia Pacific is estimated at 6.2 percent until 2020, well above the world average of 4.0 percent, BASF said.

And the German group’s aim would be to “grow profitably at least two percentage points above regional chemical output.”

“To achieve this, BASF plans to invest 10 billion euros together with its partners by 2020 to further develop its local production footprint in Asia Pacific,” it said.

In March, BASF announced it would focus its business in Asia on chemicals destined for the textile and leather industries.

The group said it aims to produce around 75 percent of the total products it sells in Asia in the region by 2020.

“Local production improves resource efficiency by reducing the transportation needed for imports and exports, and by enhancing energy and raw material efficiency,” it explained.

BASF said it currently operates more than 100 production sites in the Asia Pacific region, including two highly-integrated sites in Kuantan, Malaysia and in Nanjing, China.

In addition to those main markets, BASF said it also hopes to explore “untapped markets in Mongolia, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.”

“In the next decade, Asia Pacific will face huge challenges while remaining the fastest growing market for the chemical industry,” said BASF executive board member Martin Brudermueller.

BASF said it aims to conduct 25 percent of its global research and development (R&D) in Asia Pacific by 2020, with a total of around 3,500 R&D personnel in the region, up from around 800 in 2012.

It plans to establish research facilities in the areas of electronic materials, battery materials, agriculture, catalysis, mining, water treatment, polymers and minerals, it said.

Investors did not appear particularly enthusiastic about the massive investment drive and BASF shares were underperforming the overall market in Frankfurt on Tuesday, gaining a modest 0.21 percent, while the blue-chip DAX 30 index was up 0.85 percent.

By AFP   |   Tuesday, 04 June 2013

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Rubber demand likely to rise

HA NOI (VNS)— Demand for natural rubber is expected to increase, Tran Thi Thuy Hoa, General-Secretary of the Viet Nam Rubber Association (VRA), said.

She was speaking at a recent conference on sustainable rubber development in southern Binh Phuoc Province.

The conference drew the participation of more than 550 delegates from relevant ministries, departments, institutions, groups and associations.

According to Hoa, the rubber growing areas have developed quickly thanks to high rubber prices in foreign markets.

To meet the rising demand, the industry needs to further expand growing areas and ensure the quality of products, she said.

According to the VRA, Viet Nam is now the third-largest exporter of natural rubber in the world behind Thailand and Indonesia, with its output bouncing up to 1.01 million tonnes last year – an increase of 23.8 per cent from 2011.-VNS

Building materials sales tumble in first quarter

HA NOI (VNS)— The consumption of building materials in the first quarter of this year decreased by 20-30 percent over the same period last year.

Cement sales during the three-month period was 10.94 million tonnes, only 19.54 percent of the annual plan.

Many cement producers adjusted their operations to keep inventory rates at 5.5 percent in March, lower than the normal rate of 10 percent.

Building glass sales also fell 40 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the vice chairman of the Viet Nam Association of Building Materials, Nguyen Quang Cung. The use of other building materials dropped between 60-75 percent, Cung said.-VNS

Renaissance Minerals Announces 1.2 Million ounce Gold Resource in Cambodia

Renaissance Minerals Limited announces a significant milestone with a new independent JORC compliant gold Indicated and Inferred resource estimate for its flagship 100% owned Okvau gold deposit in Cambodia, of 15.6Mt at 2.4g/t gold for 1.2 million ounces. The resource estimate comprises 15.2Mt at 2.3g/t gold for 1.11 million ounces of gold classified into the Indicated resource category plus 0.5Mt at 5.9g/t gold for 0.1 million ounces of gold classified into the Inferred resource category. Managing Director, Justin Tremain, commented: “This is a significant achievement for the Company. Renaissance acquired the Project less than 12 months ago and its initial drilling program completed in 2012 has already resulted in a major resource increase of 65% and a 33% improved gold grade to 2.4g/t.

“The Project is proving to be a very attractive high grade project with significant scale. The Okvau deposit covers only a small part of the Project area and demonstrates the prospectivity of this unexplored region of Cambodia. “Results achieved to date vindicate our belief that the eastern region of Cambodia will evolve into a major new gold province in an emerging country with a stable democratic Government.” The resource estimate includes the drilling completed by the Company on the Okvau gold deposit during 2012, which was a combination of infill and extensional drilling. This drilling provided better delineation of high grade gold zones.

8 March 2013  |   Mining Weekly

Mining group Vinacomin to raise $120 mln in dong bonds (Reuters)

State mining group Vinacomin plans to issue bonds on domestic markets to raise 2.5 trillion dong ($120 million, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

The five-year bonds, with a face value of 1 billion dong each, would carry a coupon of 14.5 percent for the first year and mature on Jan. 18, 2018, the Hanoi-based unlisted group said.

From the second year the annual coupon will be the average of 12-month dong deposit rates offered by four major banks in Vietnam plus 3.6 percent, Vinacomin said.

ANZ Bank Vietnam and VietinBank will act as the issuing agent and consultant for the issue, the second tranche of a Vinacomin’s bond first issued in last year.

The group raised 500 billion dong in July 2012 via the first tranche of the five-year dong bonds, also with an annual coupon of 14.5 percent for the first year and similar terms for remaining years.

In November 2012 Standard& Poor’s Ratings Services cut its long-term credit rating on Vinacomin to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-‘, with stable outlook, citing a weakening financial risk profile due to high spending and falling profitability in the coal business.

Vinacomin will use the proceeds to fund its projects, it said.