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Calumet Buys Penreco

Calumet Specialty Products Partners, the Indianapolis-based specialty refining company, has agreed to acquire white oil supplier Penreco for $240 million in cash. The acquisition includes manufacturing plants in Karns City, Pa., and Dickinson, Texas, as well as a number of distribution centers. Once known as the Pennsylvania Refining Co., and later part of Pennzoil, Penreco today is owned jointly by ConocoPhillips Co. and M.E. Zukerman Specialty Oil Corp. It is one of three major U.S. white oil suppliers, along with Citgo and Sonneborn.

The Penreco products are expected to greatly expand Calumets slate of specialties, the company said. Penreco makes and markets refrigeration oil, food-grade compressor lubricants, petrolatums, gelled products and natural petroleum sulfonates. Calumet President and CEO Bill Grube said the acquisition also provides operational and marketing synergies with Calumets own business.

ConocoPhillips said that owning the Penreco business did not fit its long-term goals and strategy. Calumet plans to enter into several long-term supply agreements with ConocoPhillips upon closing the deal, which is expected before the years end.

06 Lube Sales Skid a Bit

U.S. sales of lubricants, greases and process oils fell just shy of 2.45 billion gallons in 2006, according to data released Oct. 31 by the National Petro-chemical & Refiners Association. The trade groups annual Report on U.S. Lubricating Oil and Wax Sales shows that automotive lubricants – consistently the largest slice of the market – were 56.1 percent of the total volume sold, with industrial lubricants accounting for 21.2 percent, and process oils 18.1 percent. Metalworking comprised 2.1 percent of the market and lubricating greases 2.4 percent.

In addition to total reported volumes, the 80-page statistical report offers comparative data from companies that provide sales figures for both years. The comparative data can be used to help spot market trends. The 2006 comparative data shows a 1 percent decrease in overall sales of lubricants, greases and process oils, compared to 2005.

Other findings from the comparative data:

Sales of lubricating greases were the brightest spot growth-wise, hitting 56 million gallons in 2006, versus 48.7 million gallons in 2005 – a 15.1 percent jump.

Overall sales of automotive oils slowed by 1.6 percent last year to reach 1,441 million gallons. Gasoline engine oils were nearly half of that volume, at 715 million gallons. On the heavy-duty engine oil side, sales rose 3.8 percent in 2006.

Industrial oil sales essentially were flat at 537 million gallons in 2006 versus a year earlier. Gains were seen in oils used in rail, marine and natural gas engines, but antiwear and fire-resistant hydraulic oils both sagged in volumes sold.

Process oils fell 2.1 percent, reaching just 415 million gallons in 2006.

NPRAs 2006 Report on U.S. Lubricating Oil and Wax Sales is available at a cost of $300 per copy for nonmembers. Phone: (202) 457-0480.

New Owners at Houghton …

By years end, Valley Forge, Pa.- based Houghton International will have a new owner: A subsidiary of private equity firm AEA Investors has agreed to buy the privately held supplier of industrial and metalworking fluids and chemical management services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The company said there will be no immediate changes to its range of products and services, facilities or employment. Houghtons entire senior management team is expected to continue with the company, and the Houghton International name is to continue as well. We expect to enjoy greater access to capital which will enable us to provide our customers with customized metalworking fluids and chemical management services, said Houghton President William MacDonald Jr.

… And at Milacron, Too

Milacron Inc., maker of industrial and metalworking fluids and also plastics-processing technologies, announced that a major share of the companys Series B preferred stock has been sold to an affiliate of Bayside Capital Inc. The ownership change involves 29 percent of the Cincinnati-based company, and includes Milacron stock formerly held by Glencore Finance AG. The shares, held by Bayside subsidiary Ohio Plastics LLC, were purchased for $18 million on Oct. 2.

As part of the acquisition, Bayside appointed four representatives to Milacrons board of directors, replacing four resigning members who had been appointed by Glencore.

Better Base Oils for Europe

Russias Lukoil said it has upgraded the quality of API Group I base oils produced at its plant in Nizhni Novgorod, increasing their viscosity index by approximately 8 points. This is a considerable improvement and puts our products in line with Western European standards, said Vladimir Dubotolkov, head of base oil sales for Lukoils lubricant subsidiary, LLK-International. We are pleased with the results and so we plan to duplicate them at our other plants. Lukoils goal is to increase the appeal of its stocks in Western Europe, to take advantage of export opportunities, and to increase the value of the products.

The improvements at Nizhni Novgorod came through process changes and without the installation of new equipment. In addition to the gain in viscosity index, the color and volatility of the oils also were improved, the company noted. It now will go on to perform similar upgrades at facilities at Volgograd and Perm, by the end of next year.

Call for Papers

Authors who act quickly may still be able to secure a spot on the agenda of the 2008 NLGI Annual Meeting, to be held June 7 to 10 in Williamsburg, Va. Technical, manufacturing and marketing papers on lubricating grease are sought for the prestigious event – marking the Institutes 75th anniversary – as well as papers on additive chemistries, grease testing, environmental and regulatory issues, applications and industry trends.

With 300 member companies worldwide, NLGI is the leading organization in the field of lubricating grease. Its annual meeting provides a major forum for researchers, manufacturers and suppliers to address this industry, pointed out Rob Kress of Lubricating Specialties Co., who chairs the NLGI Technical Sessions.

To submit a paper for consideration, authors must provide their names, contact details and paper subjects by Dec. 10; abstracts are due Jan. 11. E-mail Kress at or NLGI at

Univar Offers Dow Surfactants

Dow Europes line of specialty surfactants will now be marketed and distributed to its European customers by Rotterdam, Netherlands-based chemical distributor Univar N.V., in a partnership that went into effect Oct. 1. Under the agreement, Univar will distribute Dowfax Anionic, Tergitol Nonionic and the Triton Anionic and Nonionic product lines in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Faces in the News

Michael Powers has joined Des-Case Corp., the Nashville-based maker of contamination control products, as director of marketing. He has over 15 years in marketing and sales, including with GTE, Raychem and General Motors. Des-Case also has added Kevin Spiller as key account manager. He brings sales experience in the lubricant market, including with Parman Lubricants, and is a Certified Lubrication Specialist (CLS).

Baltimore-based packaging company Hedwin Corp. has promoted its current CFO and vice president of finance, Randy Wolfinger, to become president, following the retirement of David Rubley, effective Jan. 1.

Oleochemical and process chemicals distributor Acme-Hardesty, based in Blue Bell, Pa., has appointed two new regional sales managers: Brian Leone will serve the U.S. mid-Atlantic region, and Michael Hoover the Southwest. Leone has been with DeWolf Chemical and Gehring-Montgomery, and Hoover has previously worked with Univar/Chem-Central.

Prof. Koji Kato has received the coveted 2007 Tribology Gold Medal from the International Tribology Council. Now a professor of mechanical engineering at Nihon University in Japan, he is known worldwide for his major contributions in the areas of abrasive wear, solid lubricants, microtribology, coatings for sliding contacts and especially advances in ceramics.

Don Deihs has been tapped to become senior vice president and chief operating officer at Fitz Chem Corp., the raw materials and specialty chemicals distributor in Itasca, Ill., where he has served as vice president of operations for the past two years.

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