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Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals News

Fund helps South African universities unlock benefits of homegrown IP 

By: Donna Slater     25th November 2020 Since its inception in February, the University Technology Fund (UTF) has approved six investments. Technology and innovation incubated in South Africa’s universities is, as a result, being commercialised and a step closer to commercialisation, creating significant economic, investment and job... 

Omnia firmly in ‘fix and renew’ phase following September interim period 

By: Simone Liedtke     24th November 2020 JSE-listed diversified chemicals group Omnia Holdings is now firmly in the "fix and renew" phase of its turnaround strategy, where implementation of the new operating model during the six months, ended September 30, was “substantially completed” and has already resulted in improved production... 

Omnia firmly in ‘fix and renew’ phase following September interim period
Omnia CEO Seelan Gobalsamy discusses the group's interim performance. Editing: Darlene Creamer.

Sasol subsidiary to sell stake in Texas business for $404m

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th November 2020 Sasol Chemicals North America (SCNA), a wholly owned subsidiary of JSE-listed Sasol, has agreed principle terms with INEOS Gemini HDPE Holding Company and a new entity (Newco) to be formed by INEOS to sell its 50% membership interest in Gemini HDPE to Newco for $404-million. Gemini, based in La... 

Sasol shareholders back JV with LyondellBasell for US project 

By: Reuters     20th November 2020 South Africa's Sasol said on Friday shareholders have approved a proposed agreement to form a joint venture with chemical company LyondellBasell Industries at its US Lake Charles Chemicals Project in a bid to pay down debt. LyondellBasell agreed last month to acquire a 50% stake of Sasol's base... 

Sasol shareholders back JV with LyondellBasell for US project

Enel, Novartis sign ten-year renewable energy deal

By: Donna Slater     20th November 2020 Enel Group renewable energy subsidiary Enel Green Power and medicines company Novartis have signed a ten-year, 100% renewable virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for 78 MW of renewable power. This pan-European VPPA will start in January 2022 and will help Novartis achieve its goals for 100%... 

BT Industrial goes from strength to strength with manufacturing diversification

By: Marleny Arnoldi     19th November 2020 High-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes manufacturer BT Industrial Group has extended its plastics-processing capacity to include polymer-based medical fabrics and components. MD Kgomotso Lekola says the company’s electrostatic melt-blown fabric is currently being used to produce FFP2... 

BT Industrial goes from strength to strength with manufacturing diversification
Photo by Creamer Media's Marleny Arnoldi
BT Industrial's cleanroom medical device manufacturing facility

Sasol's board agrees to 20% fee reduction

By: Reuters     18th November 2020 South Africa's Sasol said on Wednesday its board agreed to a 20% cut in the fees proposed for approval at its 2020 annual general meeting due to erosion of shareholder value over the past two years and challenges still facing the petrochemical firm. The fee reduction will remain in place until a... 

Final Lake Charles unit reaches beneficial operation

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     16th November 2020 Energy and chemicals company Sasol’s low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unit at the Lake Charles Chemicals Complex (LCCP), in Louisiana, in the US, reached beneficial operation on November 15. The LDPE unit is the seventh and final LCCP unit to come online. 

Tech partnership brews beer from re-used water 

By: Halima Frost     13th November 2020 Local water technology company Xylem has partnered with Berlin water utility Berliner Wasserbetriebe and the Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin (the Berlin Centre of Competence for Water) to produce Berlin Reuse Brew. Berlin Reuse Brew is a beer made from purified and treated wastewater. 

Tech partnership brews beer from re-used water
Xylem Water Solutions treatment project manager Brendan van Wyk discusses the use of ozone and ultraviolet technology in the cleaning processes in breweries and wineries. Camerawork: Kutlwano Matlala. Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 21.10.20

Sasol pins low-carbon ‘reset’ hopes on gas, renewables and green hydrogen  

By: Terence Creamer     11th November 2020 Energy and chemicals group Sasol, which is coming under increasing pressure to reduce its carbon emissions, reports that climate change is now “front and centre” in its unfolding ‘strategic reset’, which will involve a transition away from coal to gas, renewable energy and green hydrogen. In... 

Sasol pins low-carbon ‘reset’ hopes on gas, renewables and green hydrogen
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler

NGOs call on global investor climate initiative to intervene in Sasol shareholder issue

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     10th November 2020 Nongovernmental organisation Just Share, supported by shareholder activist organisations ShareAction (UK), Majority Action (USA), Follow This (Netherlands) and the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), has written to Climate Action 100+ (CA100+) − the world’s largest investor... 

Bearing isolators faring well in bearings sector

6th November 2020 Bearings distributor BMG tells Engineering News that its Garlock Klozure and Guardian Bearing Isolators have fared notably well subsequent to being introduction to the BMG range of isolators. A bearing isolator is an advanced sealing solution that is used to protect bearings on rotating equipment... 

Bearing isolators faring well in bearings sector
SURE SOLUTION The Garlock sealing solutions offered by BMG have proven effective in many environments

Wits develops solution to improve accuracy, safety of Covid-19 testing  

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     2nd November 2020 Containing Covid-19 requires testing of individual and isolating those who test positive, together with recent contacts, to prevent further spread and it is therefore critical to ensure that testing is independently verified to assure its accuracy. Given the urgent need to ramp up testing, a team... 

Wits develops solution to improve accuracy, safety of Covid-19 testing
Professor Bavesh Kana

Difficulties heightened during pandemic, company forges ahead

By: Mamaili Mamaila     30th October 2020 South Africa’s subdued economic growth has been well recorded – even prior to the pandemic, says industrial equipment supplier Verder Pumps South Africa MD Darryl Macdougall. 

Difficulties heightened during pandemic, company forges ahead
CHECK THIS OUT Verder Pumps South Africa also launched the new Verder HI-Clean AODD and EODD pumps earlier this month, with more announcements planned heading into 2021

Sasol to test market for Southern African carbon-offset prospects 

By: Terence Creamer     29th October 2020 Chemicals and energy group Sasol has indicated that it intends issuing a request for information (RFI) for the development and implementation of carbon-offset projects in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and has called on potential participants to register their... 

Sasol to test market for Southern African carbon-offset prospects

PPE supply to healthcare sector hard hit by Covid

23rd October 2020 An infographic on the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the healthcare sector, in which the effects imputable to the Covid-19 pandemic were highlighted, has been published by market research company Frost & Sullivan. The infographic named ‘Impact of Covid-19 on demand for PPE in... 

PPE supply to healthcare sector hard hit by Covid
PROTECTION ORDER The increased demand for personal protective equipment in the medical sector has brought about notable short- and long-term changes in the value chain

PPE standards drop during pandemic

By: Halima Frost     23rd October 2020 The pandemic has brought about a conflict in standards whereby local and imported respirators align with requirements listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), however, these requirements do not align with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), says industry body South African... 

PPE standards drop during pandemic
HIGH STANDARDS Sapema insists that role-players in the PPE sector adhere to SABS and WHO standards

Hybrid future in sight

23rd October 2020 Global engineering company Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) predicts a hybrid bioprocessing future, where tried and trusted stainless-steel systems are seamlessly integrated with single-use technology. This flexible approach will enable contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs) and... 

Hybrid future  in sight
TECHNOLOGY SHAKE UP Stainless steel is not dead nor dying, but the emergence of new technology continues to shake up the biopharmaceutical industry

Hard hat face shield launched

23rd October 2020 Paper and plastics packaging and recycling company Mpact Group launched its new face shield, specially designed to attach to a hard hat, in support of the construction and related industries during the Covid-19 pandemic. Launched in June, the hard hat face shield is produced from polyethylene... 

Hard hat face  shield launched
HEALTHY HANDOVER To help curb the spread of Covid-19 and keep frontline healthcare workers safe, Mpact Group donated 25 000 face shields to the Department of Health

Gloves on offer locally

By: Halima Frost     23rd October 2020 Wholesale personal protective equipment (PPE) and industrial consumables supplier G.Fox has added the patented nitrile Grippaz gloves to its PPE portfolio in the second quarter of this year. The specially formulated gloves combine household gloves and disposable exam glove technology, which makes... 

Gloves on offer locally
GAINLY GRIP The Grippaz glove offers better 'grip-ability' as well as more comfort for the user

Unilever ring-fences €1bn for Clean Future initiative

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     22nd October 2020 Consumer goods company Unilever has launched its Clean Future initiative, which is aimed at engendering sustainability in the way it produces products and renders services. During a virtual launch of the initiatives on October 22, the company explained that it was seeking to transform its... 

Afreximbank ready to raise up to $5bn for Covid-19 vaccines for Africa - CDC head

By: Reuters     22nd October 2020 The African Export Import Bank is ready to raise up to $5-billion to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for African countries, the head of the continent’s disease control body told Reuters on Thursday. John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Africa needs... 

SABS calls for stricter self-regulation around hazardous waste disposal

By: Marleny Arnoldi     19th October 2020 Since the global outbreak of Covid-19, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has been refocusing its attention on improving its services to assist in the fight against the pandemic and the hygiene matters related to controlling the spread of infection. To this end, the SABS says the... 

Omnia intends to sell Oro Agri business

By: Marleny Arnoldi     19th October 2020 JSE-listed chemicals group Omnia Holdings has reached an agreement to sell its Oro Agri business to Rovensa – a European-based business that procures and distributes biocontrol, bionutrition and crop protection solutions. Omnia in June received a nonbinding offer for the business, which... 

Omnia intends to sell Oro Agri business
Omnia CEO Seelan Gobalsamy

Academia, industry must be involved for railway concessions to be successful, says NMU associate

By: Simone Liedtke     14th October 2020 The ensure the success of railway concessions, Nelson Mandela University Infrastructure Development and Engagement Unit (ID&EU) associate Bongani Mankewu says government “must fathom the significant role to be played by academia and the industry”. He explains that the inception of concessioning... 

Sasol tax break, subsidy support boosts pollution, group says

By: Bloomberg     13th October 2020 Sasol got a R8.1-billion profit boost last year thanks to the country’s fuel subsidies and its exemption from a South African carbon tax, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development. In a report, the institute says that Sasol’s proprietary coal-to-fuel technology is a... 

Sasol tax break, subsidy support boosts pollution, group says
The Secunda coal-to-liquids plant in Mpumalanga.

South African receives $150 000 Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Grant

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     8th October 2020 Selected from a record entry of 217 applications from 26 different countries in Africa, Dr Bernard Coetzee, from the University of the Witwatersrand’s Global Change Institute, has been announced as the winner of the second yearly $150 000 Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Grant, at an event hosted by... 

South African receives $150 000 Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Grant
Dr Bernard WT Coetzee (standing centre), has been announced as the winner of the second, yearly $150 000 Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Grant, at an event hosted by Oppenheimer Generations at Circa Gallery, Rosebank, Johannesburg. With him from (L-R) Jonathan Oppenheimer, Executive Chairperson of Oppenheimer Generations, Bridget Fury, Head, Oppenheimer Generations Philanthropies and Chair of the JWO grant expert panel, Nicky Oppenheimer, Chairman of Oppenheimer Generations and Dr Duncan MacFadyen, Head of Research and Conservation at Oppenheimer Generations.

Sasol sells 50% of Lake Charles base chemicals unit to LyondellBasell for $2bn 

By: Terence Creamer     2nd October 2020 Debt-laden chemicals and energy group Sasol has announced a $2-billion joint venture (JV) agreement with LyondellBasell for its base chemicals business in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in the US. Under the agreement, LyondellBasell will acquire 50% of Sasol’s 1.5-million-ton ethane cracker, as well as... 

Sasol sells 50% of Lake Charles base chemicals unit to LyondellBasell for $2bn
Lake Charles Chemicals Complex

Financial response plan implemented

2nd October 2020 In the face of the oil price collapse and unprecedented challenges, chemicals and energy group Sasol took immediate steps to implement a comprehensive response plan to stabilise the business in the short term and raise cash of at least $6-billion by the end of financial year 2021 to repay debt,... 

Financial response plan implemented
QUICK RESPONDERS Sasol took immediate steps to implement a comprehensive response plan to stabilise the business in the short term

Cleanup under way at Sasol's Lake Charles following hurricane

By: Simone Liedtke     22nd September 2020 Petrochemicals company Sasol has completed damage assessments of its Lake Charles Chemical Complex’s 14 manufacturing facilities, associated utilities and infrastructure following the landfall of Hurricane Laura on August 27. Hurricane Laura is considered to be one of the strongest hurricanes on... 

Butler retires as Omnia director

By: Donna Slater     21st September 2020 Frank Butler will retire as director of chemicals company Omnia at the company’s annual general meeting on September 23. He has served on the board since September 2002 and is chairperson of the board's social, ethics and risk committee.  

Sasol to become first raw material supplier signatory of Operation Clean Sweep

By: Donna Slater     15th September 2020 Energy and chemicals group Sasol has become the first South African raw material supplier to the plastics industry to become a signatory of Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) – an international stewardship programme designed to prevent resin pellet, flake and powder loss and help keep this material out... 

Omnia's mining division celebrates record-breaking achievements

By: Simone Liedtke     14th September 2020 Diversified chemicals group Omnia Holdings is celebrating several record-breaking achievements across Protea Mining Chemicals and BME, which together form the group’s mining division. Protea Mining Chemicals became the first in its field, globally, to develop a solution that helps copper and... 

Aspen achieves strong cash flow despite tough conditions

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     10th September 2020 JSE-listed Aspen Pharmacare increased its revenue by 9% to R38.6-billion for the financial year ended  June 30, while normalised earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased by 7% to R11-billion for the period. The higher revenue was supported by growth from Commercial... 

Aspen concludes sales agreement for thrombosis business

By: Donna Slater     8th September 2020 Pharmaceuticals manufacturer Aspen’s wholly-owned Mauritius-incorporated subsidiary Aspen Global Incorporated (AGI) has concluded an agreement in terms of which Mylan Ireland will acquire the commercialisation rights and related intellectual property of Aspen’s Thrombosis business in Europe for... 

Sasol seeks carbon-utilisation solutions for South African operations 

By: Terence Creamer     4th September 2020 Energy and chemicals group Sasol has initiated a process through which it aims to identify potential partners for the development and demonstration of technologies that can utilise the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced at its South African operations as part of a broader strategy to lower its... 

Sasol seeks carbon-utilisation solutions for South African operations

Long-term demand structure for petroleum unclear

By: Darren Parker     4th September 2020 It is expected that the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to negatively affect liquid fuels demand in the short term, but whether this represents a long-term structural shift is not yet clear, says South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) executive director Avhapfani Tshifularo. Before... 

Long-term demand structure for petroleum unclear
Photo by Adobe
NO NEED TO IMPORT Reduced demand will see South Africa becoming somewhat self-sufficient in terms of fuels production if all refineries are operational
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