AKRON, OHIO—Other major thermoplastic polyurethane makers have joined BFGoodrich Specialty Chemicals in attempting to raise prices, and at least two major unsaturated polyester companies are hoping to up their prices in the next few weeks.
Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., Bayer Corp. of Pittsburgh and BASF Corp. of Mount Olive, N.J., each have announced TPU price hikes that go into effect between Nov. 17 and Dec. 8. The moves are as follows:
Dow: 10 cents per pound on ester and ether TPU grades and 5 cents per pound on automotive TPU grades and several polyester products, effective Nov. 17.
BASF: 5 percent hike on Elastollan-brand TPUs, effective Dec. 1.
Bayer: 10 percent hike on TPU/polycarbonate blends, 6 percent on ester grades and 4 percent on ether and aromatic grades of Texin- and Desmopan-brand TPUs, effective Dec. 8.
BFGoodrich Co., based in Richfield, Ohio, had announced a 5 percent increase on its Estane-brand TPUs and Estaloc reinforced engineering thermoplastics by an average of 5 percent, effective Nov. 1.
That move has met some resistance because of announced capacity increases for TPUs, according to BFG officials.
BFG is adding three Estane lines in Avon Lake, Ohio, while a BASF expansion in Wyandotte, Mich., will more than double the amount of the firm's Elastollan production for extrusion uses.
BFG previously had said the increase was necessary because of growing raw materials costs, environmental and regulatory compliance and supply pressure created by strong global TPU demand.
Roger Huarng, product manager for BASF's Elastollan, said prices for polyols and isocyanates, two key raw materials, had gone up.
Bayer also needs the price hike to support necessary investments at its production facilities, as well as to support research and development, Robert Frasier, sales and marketing vice president, said in a letter to customers.
Dow's TPU senior product marketing manager, Mark Remmert, agreed with the raw material and global demand reasons offered by BFG, but he described environmental responsibilities as ``just the cost of doing business.''
The new round of increase attempts is only the third in the TPU market in the past five years, according to Remmert.
``We really need to improve margins to allow for reinvestment in the industry,'' he said.
Meanwhile, prices for unsaturated polyester also are trying to rise.
Reichhold Chemicals Inc. of Research Triangle Park, N.C., announced 2-3 cent increases on all its unsaturated polyester products, effective Dec. 1.
Cook Composites and Polymers Co. of Kansas City, Mo., also announced 2-3 cent hikes on unsaturated polyester and gel-coat products, but its effective date is Jan. 1.
Reichhold spokesman Phil Bridges cited higher energy and, especially, transportation costs as major factors in the decision to boost prices.
Problems associated with the consolidation of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads ``have been tough on everybody,'' he said. Another factor, he said, is the continuing tight supply of maleic anhydride — a component of unsaturated polyester.
CCP marketing director Scott Kaphingst said higher prices in titanium dioxide are behind the increase in gel-coat prices.