Material Insights: May 7, 2011

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A two-month increase in North American prices for PVC resin is featured in this week's Material Insights video. Regional prices increased by 2 cents per pound in February and another 2 cents in March, according to buyers contacted by Plastics News. PVC prices now are up a total of 7 cents so far in 2012. Higher feedstock costs and increasing demand for PVC -- up 13 percent in the US and Canada in the first two months of the year -- are behind the increases. Sales of PVC into rigid pipe and tubing were up 48 percent in that two-month period. Chevron Phillips' selection of Old Ocean, Texas, as the site for two new polyethylene plants also is featured in the video. The firm already operates a petrochemical facility there. The new plants are set to open in 2017 and will have 2.2 billion pounds of combined annual capacity. Officials with Chevron Phillips said newfound supplies of natural gas throughout North America are allowing the new PE plants to be built. The video wraps up with a look at a pair of acquisitions by New York private equity firm Arsenal Capital. The firm bought pigment dispersion makers Plasticolors and Color trend, and will combine the two firms to create a new company called Chromaflo Technologies. The combined firm will have annual sales of about $250 million and, according to Arsenal, will be the industry's largest independent maker of global pigment dispersions.