September 21, 2020

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News roundup: Hanwha Group, HollyFrontier, Calumet Specialty Products
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Photo courtesy of HollyFrontier

Hanwha Group fails to bag stake in Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemical Project

South Korea’s Hanwha Group has lost its bid to acquire a 50% stake in South African chemical company Sasol’s ethane cracker project in Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S.A., local Korean media reported.

The South Korean conglomerate reportedly offered more than USD3 billion, which was lower than Chevron Phillips Chemical’s winning bid.

Hanwha Solutions, the chemical arm of Hanwha Group, was one of the final and the only Korean bidder in the official tender. Other local bidders including LG Chem and private equity firm SJL Partners, both dropped out after the preliminary bidding.

The Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP) in the U.S. state of Louisiana consists of a world-scale 1.5 million ton per year ethane cracker and six downstream chemical units, and is currently under construction near Lake Charles, adjacent to Sasol’s existing chemical operations. Once commissioned, this world-scale petrochemicals complex will roughly triple Sasol’s chemical production capacity in the United States, enabling Sasol to further strengthen its position in a growing global chemicals market. Sasol has invested more than USD12 billion in the project, which significantly increased the company’s debt. The company has been selling off some assets to reduce its debt load, including offloading its 10% stake in the Escravos GTL Plant in Nigeria.

HollyFrontier to operate at 81% of capacity in Q3

Independent U.S. refiner HollyFrontier Corp. plans for its five refineries to run up to 81% of their combined throughput of 457,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the third quarter of 2020, said Timothy Go, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The refineries’ combined crude oil throughput will range between 340,000 and 370,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the third quarter, Go said.

Yesterday, HollyFrontier reported a second quarter net loss of USD176.7 million, for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, compared to a net income of USD196.9 million, for the quarter ended June 30, 2019.

The Lubricants and Specialty Products segment reported adjusted EBITDA of USD15.2 million, compared to USD28.9 million in the second quarter 2019. This decrease was primarily due to global weakness in demand within the industrial and automotive end markets during the quarter.

The second quarter results reflected special items that collectively decreased net income by a total of USD135.9 million. On a pre-tax basis, these items include long-lived asset impairments at the Cheyenne Refinery and PCLI totaling USD429.5 million and corporate restructuring, Cheyenne Refinery severance and integration charges totaling USD5.4 million.

“During the second quarter, our focus remained on the safety of our employees, contractors and communities as we all continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this challenging environment, HollyFrontier demonstrated its financial strength and we have taken prudent steps to preserve cash. Our strong balance sheet and the superior quality of our assets provides us with a competitive advantage through the cycle,” said HollyFrontier President & CEO Michael Jennings.

Calumet Specialty Products Partners announces CFO transition

Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: CLMT), a leading independent producer of specialty hydrocarbon and fuels products, announced yesterday that H. Keith Jennings plans to resign as executive vice president & chief financial officer (CFO) effective August 31, 2020 to pursue other interests closer to his family in Texas.

Steve Mawer, chief executive officer of Calumet Specialty Products Partners, commented, “On behalf of everyone at Calumet, I want to thank Keith for everything he has accomplished during his time at Calumet. We have a strong finance team and we appreciate that Keith will be staying on for a full month to ensure a seamless transition. We’ve already started the transition process and will share the outcome of that in due course.”

Calumet Specialty Products Partners, a master limited partnership, is based in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A., and operates nine manufacturing facilities located in northwest Louisiana, northern Montana, western Pennsylvania, Texas and eastern Missouri.

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