Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/06/2012 -- BMI's Bulgaria Petrochemicals Report assesses the trends that will affect the country's relatively small petrochemicals base. It also examines the impact of the business environment on investors' risk management strategies and the chances of capacity growth over the medium-term.
In 2012, Bulgaria had olefins capacities of 450,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) ethylene, 80,000tpa propylene and 50,000tpa butadiene. In terms of aromatics and intermediates, it had capacities of 35,000tpa benzene, 40,000tpa styrene and 35,000tpa paraxylene. It also had capacities of 120,000tpa low-density polyethylene (LDPE), 80,000tpa polypropylene (PP), 70,000tpa polystyrene (PS) and 35,000tpa styrene butadiene rubber.
The performance of the Bulgarian petrochemicals industry declined through 2012 as the country felt the full force of the economic downturn and the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. The average index for chemicals and chemical products manufacturing fell 8.3% y-o-y in the January-July period of 2012 following 15.0% growth in 2011, while the index for rubber and plastic production fell 4.1% following 3.0% growth in the previous year.
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With approximately 60% of total Bulgarian exports destined for Europe, as the region's household expenditure on key petrochemicals-consuming sectors remains weak, we expect external demand for Bulgarian chemical, plastic and rubber goods to remain weak. Bulgaria's petrochemicals industry is a minor player and the country will remain dependent on imports, with recovery likely to benefit imports, although these will still be slow to return to pre-crisis levels.
Over the last quarter, BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:
- Any severe contraction in domestic and external demand could lead to a complete shut-down of facilities, as happened in 2010.
- There is little expectation of investment in petrochemicals capacity expansion over the mediumterm, especially in the current economic downturn. Bulgaria has one operational refinery, Lukoil's Neftochim Burgas. With almost all the country's feedstock derived from naphtha, the refinery is crucial to maintaining downstream operations.
- Until upstream resources are secured, it is unlikely ethylene capacity will expand beyond the current 450,000tpa. As such, there is no reason to believe that PE and PP capacities will rise above 120,000tpa and 80,000tpa respectively over the forecast period.
- Bulgaria comes eight out of 10 markets in BMI's Risk/Reward Ratings (RRRs) for Central and Eastern Europe, rising from ninth place in 2012 due to a 2.2 point improvement in its petrochemicals risk rating to 41.5 points. This put it 3.9 points behind Romania and 1.7 points ahead of Ukraine.
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