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Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals News

Variable demand requires new strategy

By: Tracy Hancock     24th July 2020 Uncertain demand in the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and aftermarket environments, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, is impacting on short- to medium-term capacity management decisions to meet variable demand, says automotive parts manufacturer GUD Holdings CEO Chris Haworth. “However,... 

Sasol expects delay in last unit in US project to come onstream

By: Reuters     23rd July 2020 Sasol said on Thursday a unit damaged by fire at its Lake Charles Chemical Project (LCCP) should reach meaningful output by October, a month later than previous guidance. Even before a fire earlier this year, the Louisiana plant, which converts natural gas into plastics ingredient ethylene, had... 

Solidarity Fund continues to make progress in supporting fight against Covid-19

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     17th July 2020 Four months since the first case of Covid-19 was identified in the country, the Solidarity Fund, established by President Cyril Ramaphosa as a rapid response to augment the fight against the pandemic, has made considerable progress in implementing its mandate and distributing funds, it said... 

Sappi develops new, skin-friendly hand-sanitiser ingredient

By: Donna Slater     15th July 2020 Dissolving pulp and paper-based solutions company Sappi has launched a skin- and planet-friendly hand hygiene ingredient – Valida – which is based on cellulose and is intended to be used by hygiene product manufacturers in products like hand sanitisers. Sappi developed the ingredient in... 

Aspen proposes price reductions to address European Commission concerns

By: Marleny Arnoldi     14th July 2020 JSE-listed pharmaceutical group Aspen Pharmacare Holdings has agreed to various commitments to address competition concerns raised by the European Commission after it opened an investigation into Aspen and some of its European subsidiaries. The commission believes Aspen may have abused its... 

DBSA supports local production of ventilators, other medical supplies

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th July 2020 The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has launched Covid-19 response programmes in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, valued at R150-million. The bank is providing support to various activities that will bolster national and local government... 

Although vaccine trials are generating optimism, concerns about access are rising

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th July 2020 Should all go well with the South African-led vaccine trial or with similar trials in the UK and Brazil, commercial lots of vaccines be developed as early as the first quarter of next year. However, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) clinical infectious disease epidemiologist and... 

Although vaccine trials are generating optimism, concerns about access are rising

Monitor for food and beverage industry launched

10th July 2020 Process automation company Endress + Hauser launched its innovative Liquitrend QMW43 device that helps ensure food safety and increases food quality in March. “This compact multivariable device can be used to detect the continuous build-up of liquids and can also be used to measure conductivity,”... 

Tribunal fines Dis-Chem R1.2m for excessive pricing of face masks

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     7th July 2020 The Competition Tribunal has ordered pharmacy group Dis-Chem Pharmacies to pay an administrative penalty of R1.2-million for allegedly charging excessive prices for surgical face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic. The tribunal says Dis-Chem contravened Section 8(1)(a) of the Competition Act in... 

Chemicals company agrees to R600 000 fine

By: Marleny Arnoldi     7th July 2020 Cape Town-based chemicals company Caprichem has agreed to pay a settlement amount of R600 000 for allegedly charging excessive prices for hand sanitisers. The settlement amount comprises of a R500 000 administrative penalty paid to the Competition Commission and a R100 000 contribution to the... 

Omnia more than halves debt as stabilisation plan is concluded

By: Donna Slater     7th July 2020 JSE-listed diversified chemicals group Omnia Holdings reports that it achieved solid results for the financial year ended March 31, noting that this reflected the finalisation of the group’s stabilisation plan which included the successful recapitalisation of the business. Omnia’s balance sheet... 

Air Products and thyssenkrupp sign green hydrogen agreement

By: Schalk Burger     6th July 2020 NYSE-listed industrial gases multinational Air Products and industrial technology multinational thyssenkrupp on July 5 announced that they had signed an exclusive strategic cooperation agreement to develop world-scale electrolysis plants to generate green hydrogen. The two companies will... 

Sasol gives up licence to seek offshore gas in Mozambique

By: Reuters     5th July 2020 South African petrochemicals giant Sasol has opted to give up its licence to explore for gas off the Mozambique coast, the company said on Sunday. "Sasol will return Block 16/19 in its entirety to the Government of Mozambique. To this end, a withdrawal notification has already been sent to the... 

Sasol narrows immediate asset-disposal focus to ‘top ten’ list 

By: Terence Creamer     3rd July 2020 Chemicals and energy group Sasol has developed a list of ten major assets that will be prioritised for sale in the coming weeks and months as it moves to streamline the business into what is being termed ‘Sasol 2.0’, while also raising proceeds to help it reduce a $9.5-billion debt burden. In... 

Sasol narrows immediate asset-disposal focus to ‘top ten’ list
Photo by Creamer Media
Sasol CFO Paul Victor

Local medical radioisotope producer continues exports despite lockdown

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd July 2020 South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) subsidiary company NTP Radioisotopes (NTP) has reported that, since the imposition of South Africa’s national lockdown in late March, it had been able to dispatch more than 120 shipments of medical radioisotopes to customers around the world. Both... 

Africa's e-health sector booming

By: Schalk Burger     29th June 2020 The number of e-health startups operating in Africa has hit an all-time high at 180 active companies, while investment into the space continues to grow, having reached record levels in the first half of this year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, says technology startup information and investment... 

Sasol’s asset sale programme advances with bids due for pipeline

By: Bloomberg     29th June 2020 Sasol expects binding bids within weeks for its stake in a natural gas pipeline running from Mozambique to South Africa, as the company accelerates asset sales to pay off debt, according to people familiar with the process. The bidding round underway for the Rompco 865 km gas pipeline stake... 

Labat Africa reports investor interest as South Africa publishes medical cannabis notice

By: Schalk Burger     29th June 2020 JSE-listed medical cannabis investment holding company Labat Africa on June 29 said South Africa’s changing cannabis regulation was helping it to attract investor interest. "In another clear indication that the South African government views the emerging cannabis sector as a priority, Notice R586... 

A buyer’s guide to Sasol’s $5bn asset sale process

By: Bloomberg     25th June 2020 Sasol has accelerated an asset disposal program that could eliminate more than half of the company’s debt. The South African company is trying to raise cash amid cost overruns and lower oil prices. The process could be done in a year and take in as much as $5 billion, which would help prevent a... 

Aspen could produce 10m dexamethasone tablets within a month - CEO

By: Reuters     23rd June 2020 South African pharmaceutical maker Aspen could provide ten-million dexamethasone tablets within a month, CEO Stephen Saad told Reuters on Tuesday. "Aspen has looked at the short-term needs and can provide ten-million tablets in the next 3 to 4 weeks. We would look to ramp up further should there... 

South Africa’s first clinical trial for a vaccine against Covid-19 gets underway

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     23rd June 2020 The first participants in South Africa’s first clinical trial for a vaccine against Covid-19 will be vaccinated this week. The first clinical trial in South Africa and on the continent for a Covid-19 vaccine was announced on June 23, at a virtual press conference hosted by the University of the... 

Sasol’s Guerbet unit at Lake Charles achieves beneficial operation

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     23rd June 2020 JSE-listed Sasol reports that the Guerbet alcohols unit at its Lake Charles Chemicals project (LCCP), in Louisiana, in the US, achieved beneficial operation on June 19. This is Sasol’s second Guerbet alcohol production site, with the other located in Brunsbuettel, Germany. 

Omnia expects to swing to full-year earnings

By: Donna Slater     22nd June 2020 Chemicals manufacturer Omnia expects to report earnings a share of between 65c and 130c for the financial year ended March 31. This represents an improvement of 111% to 121% on the loss a share of 609c reported for the prior financial year.  

New amendments provide greater protection regarding chemical disinfectants, says Industroclean

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     19th June 2020 The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it a dramatic increase in the demand for disinfectants to help mitigate against the spread of the virus, and now, more than ever, there is a critical need for safe disinfecting products that do not pose unnecessary risk to consumers, says industrial cleaning... 

Aspen CEO working to ensure supply of promising Covid drug

By: Bloomberg     18th June 2020 Aspen Pharmacare Holdings is working to ensure it can manage demand for a generic anti-inflammatory drug that was shown to improve survival in Covid-19 patients. Africa’s biggest drugmaker has set up a team to assess how much of the 60-year-old drug dexamethasone it can supply and by when, Chief... 

Sasol revamp to cut jobs, end West African oil ops

By: Reuters     18th June 2020 South Africa's Sasol plans to cut jobs and end West African oil operations as part of a business revamp, the petrochemicals producer said on Thursday, adding it had also agreed a deal with lenders to relax borrowing rules. Sasol has been reviewing its business as it struggles with high debt... 

Great demand for infection control across Africa

By: Tracy Hancock     12th June 2020 The demand for infection control solutions manufacturer SteriTech’s products has increased significantly across Africa since the Covid-19 outbreak, but so have the company’s lead times. “Demand in the rest of Africa existed prior to the outbreak and was steadily growing at a rate just slightly... 

Great demand for infection control across Africa
SOUGHT-AFTER SteriTech has increased its production capacity twenty-fold to meet demand across Africa

AMSA agrees to pay R3.64m fine for exceeding hydrogen sulphide limits

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     10th June 2020 JSE-listed ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) has agreed to pay a R3.64-million fine to the Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries as a settlement for transgressions of the Atmospheric Emissions Licence at its Vanderbijlpark operations during 2016. AMSA in June last year... 

Adoption of automation, robotics expected to accelerate

By: Schalk Burger     9th June 2020 Increasingly automated processes and the use of robotics are expected to support greater production and the provision of services safely in a contactless society, says robotics multinational Yaskawa Southern Africa chairperson Terry Rosenberg. He notes that many businesses are rapidly adopting... 

British scientists bypass drug giants to sell potential coronavirus vaccine

By: Reuters     9th June 2020 A team of British scientists developing a coronavirus vaccine has set up a special company to distribute it if they are successful, rather than partnering with a big pharmaceutical company, to ensure access for the world's poorest. The scientists from London's Imperial College hope to bring a... 

Concrete batchers training in the works

By: Mamaili Mamaila     5th June 2020 The Concrete Institute’s (TCI’s) School of Concrete Technology is planning to offer a special one-day course for concrete batchers and batch plant staff in the second half of 2020. 

Concrete batchers training in the works
THE WHOLE BATCH Batching ensures high and uniform quality of readymix concrete for each batch produced by a batching plant

Commission refers another case of excessive pricing to the tribunal

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     28th May 2020 The Competition Commission has referred, to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution, a case against an industrial chemicals company, Caprichem, for alleged excessive pricing during the State of National Disaster. This follows an investigation by the commission, which found that Caprichem... 

B4SA increasing PPE procurement from local suppliers, more funding needed

By: Schalk Burger     28th May 2020 Business solidarity coalition Business For South Africa (B4SA) on May 28 said the focus of its personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement platform over the past four weeks had been to pivot its procurement efforts to identify, capacitate and source from local manufacturers and black-owned... 

Entries for Sasol Business Accelerator programme now open

By: Donna Slater     28th May 2020 Petrochemicals and chemicals manufacturer Sasol reports that it has opened entries for small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) in the manufacturing, engineering services and recyclables sectors to join its Sasol Business Accelerator (SBA) programme. Interested companies must be based in... 

Pandemic prompts diverse solutions development

By: Theresa Bhowan     22nd May 2020 The outbreak of Covid-19 has prompted identification and traceability solutions company MITAS Corporation, to develop solutions that aid clients during and after the pandemic. 

Pandemic prompts diverse solutions development
LABELLED AND COVERED MITAS Corporation plays an active role in the monitoring of goods throughout the lockdown period

System gaining traction in building conversion projects

By: Mamaili Mamaila     22nd May 2020 Alternative building technology solutions provider SanteQ Liteweight Building Technology’s bespoke Plaswall building technology provides for simple and rapid installation using unsophisticated skills. 

System gaining traction in building conversion projects
BACK TO THE WALL SanteQ's walling systems use between 80% and 90% recycled and waste materials

Integration vital for construction-project life cycle

By: Mamaili Mamaila     22nd May 2020 There is a need for integration between the engineering design and environmental processes, before the final submission stage of a project, to avoid the possibility of environmental authorisation for construction on the preferred site being denied, says environmental consultancy Environmental... 

Integration vital for construction-project life cycle
SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS Identifying the environmentally sensitive areas on-site early during the design phase can increase the probability of a sustainable and integrated development
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