Buoyed by a strong European economy and robust demand, Borealis saw its net profit rise from €261m in the second quarter of 2017 to €293m in the same quarter of 2018.
This was driven by ‘higher volumes, higher prices and still good integrated polyolefin margins,’ Borealis CEO Alfred Stern told Plastics News Europe in an interview on Monday.
In the second quarter, net debt reduced by €175m, despite the investment in Bayport Polymers LLC, the US Gulf coast joint venture with Total and NOVA Chemicals.
The reduction was driven by a solid business performance and a strong contribution from Borouge. Borealis’ financial position remains healthy, with a gearing of 19% at the end of the second quarter of 2018.
Stern noted that the acquisition of recyclers mtm plastics, mtm compact and Ecoplast in 2016 and last month respectively played no significant part in contributing to the favourable half-year results reported by the company, Stern said, but are an ‘investment’, indicating Borealis’ development as an ‘innovative company’ that is responding to the interest shown by brand owners and consumers in recycled materials.
Recycling presents opportunities for the circular economy, and has to be part of the total solution, he added, and Borealis sees its present investments as the way to ‘become part of that solution.’
This is illustrated by a recently completed pilot project with Henkel, in which the companies collaborated on the development of a new packaging solution based on 100% post-consumer recycled material for the Made-at-Home all-purpose glue bottle and cap, which Henkel is marketing under its well-known Pattex brand.
Value chain partner KKT Kaller Kunststoff Technik GmbH, a plastics processor also based in Germany, manufactures the bottles. German plastic components manufacturer bomo trendline Technik GmbH produces the applicator nozzles.
Stern was also extremely upbeat about the proposed plans for its propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant at its existing production site in Kallo, Belgium.
Following the completion of the feasibility study in June of last year, the company subsequently commissioned Jacobs Engineering to carry out a front end engineering design (Feed) study for the plant, and a nine-month feasibility study to assess a series of capacity increases designed to debottleneck Borealis’ existing Belgian PP units.
A final investment decision is definitely expected by the third quarter of this year and we are very optimistic about that, said Stern.
The PDH project would have capacity for 740,000 tonnes/year of propylene.