Probe Economics LLC
Chemical Industry Business Analysis and Consulting.

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Consulting & Customized Research Projects

Projections of World Chemical Supply, Demand and Price 

  • For an international agency, we provided strategic analyses and forecasts of the world petrochemical industry, contributing to the agency's understanding of the industry and helping it develop criteria for evaluating project finance requests. 
  • For a planning project at a large petrochemical company, we provided five-year demand and supply projections for six chemical products, by world region. 
  • For a multinational inorganic chemicals company, we developed worldwide supply-demand balances and long-term price projections for chlor-alkali products. 
  • On a multi-client basis, we prepare supply, demand and pricing studies of key chemicals, using our worldwide model and database. The model accurately reflects the interactions among the world's government, general economic, energy and chemical sectors and is especially adept at analyzing the effects of business cycles, energy price shocks and regulatory actions. 

Planning/Acquisition Support 

  • For a Latin American chemical company, we formulated a plan for developing a remote natural gas deposit. Consideration was given to the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia and ethylene. 
  • For a consortium of steel producers in a developing country, we identified and evaluated options for improving the profitability of coal tar operations. Production and export of various coal tar derivatives was considered. 
  • For a sugar producer in a developing country, we assessed various options for adding value to surplus molasses, including the production of various fermentation products.
  • For an oil company considering an acquisition, we provided price and margin data, by stage of processing, for a chemical and its derivatives. 
  • We helped a large, state-owned petrochemical company evaluate a provincial development plan, estimating how fast internal demand for the products would be growing and indicating which products could be successfully exported. 
  • We helped a diversified chemical company understand markets and develop strategies for entry into a segment of the adhesives industry. Our report included detailed cost estimates for production, compounding, distribution and sale of packaging adhesives. 

Competitor/Supplier/Customer Analyses 

  • For a telephone cable company, we provided analyses of insulation material suppliers, which helped the company negotiate better and develop alternative sources of supply for a key polymer. 
  • For a large chemical producer, we analyzed what various companies are doing with metallocene-based polyolefins and projected how fast certain applications are likely to develop. 
  • In order to help a capital equipment supplier make better sales proposals, we provided information about important potential clients, including a listing of production facilities and an assessment of likely strategies. 
  • For an agrochemical company wishing to diversify supply sources, we provided information about the costs, coproduct values and market position of a key supplier. 

Financial/Capital Project Support 

  • For a Latin American development bank, we provided scenario analysis for use in the valuation of a petrochemical center being privatized. Probe's results showed how viable the center would be in a free trade environment. 
  • For an inorganic chemicals company, we developed demand projections and other region-specific information to help them decide whether to proceed with a plant expansion. 
  • To help a privately held inorganic chemical company with a financial restructuring plan, we forecasted the volumes and prices of key products. 
  • We helped a securities firm develop chemical industry capacity, demand, price and profitability data and provided consultations on the industry outlook and investment climate. Information was used to advise institutional investors about chemical industry risks and opportunities. 
  • For financial institutions, we provided margin projections, competitive assessments and other information needed in due diligence evaluations of banking relationships and project financings. 

Purchasing Support 

  • For a large paper company wishing to monitor and improve purchasing performance, we provided market intelligence on key raw materials. We also estimated production costs and assessed supplier strategies. 
  • For a large pharmaceutical company interested in improving its sourcing procedures, we developed market and cost information for certain specialty, high-barrier, multi-layered films.  
  • For a large snack food producer, we investigated the worldwide markets, costs and operating practices of packaging resin producers, packaging film producers, and converters. 
  • For an artificial sweetener company, we developed detailed production cost estimates for a major new raw material. This helped the company negotiate a better price and develop a strategy for backward integration. 
  • For an agrochemical company, we estimated the cost of manufacturing certain precious metal catalysts in order to improve its negotiating position with a catalyst supplier. 
  • For a diversified chemical producer wishing to set more accurate raw material budgets, we developed market analyses and price forecasts for key inorganic chemical raw materials.

Computerized Forecasting Systems and Databases 

  • For a tire and chemical company, we developed forecasting models and periodic forecasts of company and industry sales of various elastomers. Based on these forecasts, the company reduced budgets early and thereby successfully weathered a recession. 
  • For a computer modelling company, we developed historical and projected cost data on the production of titanium dioxide in Japan, West Germany and the U.S. Data included detailed ore cost information for multiple grades and mine locations. 
  • To help a multinational oil company with long run strategy, we developed data and analytical techniques to project the long-term profitability of a commodity thermoplastic. 
  • For a North American petrochemical company, we provided training and prototype models to help them develop price forecasting systems. The systems were used to assess the long-term viability of the company's main businesses and the advisability of expansion projects. 

Technology Forecasting and Process Economics 

  • For a national chemical company evaluating make or buy decisions, we developed production cost estimates for several key raw materials. 
  • For a multinational chemical producer, we developed detailed production cost estimates for a metal-organic compound in order to help them negotiate with a supplier. 
  • To help a multinational agrochemical company with supplier negotiations, we provided process chemistry information and economic estimates for a high-valued, low-volume raw material. 
  • For a multinational chemical company, we provided inputs to their process research program by projecting the future costs of chemical products and raw materials. 
  • On a multi-client basis, we maintain production cost models and databases for most major chemical products. These are used to develop price and margin forecasts, negotiate supply contracts and support various business decisions.

Litigation Support/Public Policy-Regulatory Analyses 

  • For a multinational chemical company, we provided analyses and testimony on the effects of chlorine and caustic potash imports on the U.S. market. The information was used by the U.S. International Trade Commission in their decision on two different anti-dumping cases. 
  • For an industry trade association, we quantified the effects of the plastics industry on the U.S. economy, broken down by region and economic sector. The association used the information to show the importance of their industry to key constituencies and to analyze the effects of regulations.
  • For use in a trade dumping case in Mexico, we provided data needed to evaluate the impacts of certain chemical imports from industrialized countries.
  • For a law firm, we provided consultations and testimony in an antitrust case involving the steel scrap and beverage container recycling industries.
  • For an international casualty insurer, we provided expert testimony on the appropriate compensation for aviation accident victims.
  • For a law firm, we provided consultations on the markets and prices of diethylene glycol. The information was used to assess the damages resulting from the contamination of a tanker cargo.
  • For a law firm, we provided information on chemical marketing and pricing practices. Information was used in a criminal case involving diversion of export-priced material into the domestic market.
  • For a law firm, we served as consultants on an antitrust complaint concerning computerized mailing lists.

Market Research 

  • For a minerals and chemicals company, we estimated the size of, and requirements for entry into, the market for specialty manganese compounds. 
  • For use in an acquisition analysis, we explored the markets and companies involved with activated alumina absorbents and catalysts. 
  • For a multinational oil company, we estimated the market for certain specialty solvents. Based on the information, the company built a plant and began selling the solvents. 
  • We developed information about U.S. polyolefin food packaging markets, for a petrochemical company wishing to do a better job setting product specifications and directing marketing efforts. 
  • For an oil company, we developed historical transaction price data on various downstream products, including engineering resins and adhesives. 

Presentations, Seminars and Training Sessions 

  • For a chemical firm wishing to launch a new product/market development program, we developed and taught a course on forecasting the consumption and price of new products in existing markets and existing products in new markets -- especially in developing countries. 
  • For an international bank, we developed and taught a seminar on the economics, technology and competitive behavior of the world petrochemical industry. 
  • For a publishing and seminar firm, we developed and taught a session on purchasing analysis and raw material price forecasting. 
  • For a professional association, we organized technical sessions on new developments in advanced materials and detergents. 
  • Probe provides periodic presentations covering the outlook for the economy, energy and specific chemical sectors. Some of the information is customized to fit client needs. The presentations are designed to stimulate discussion and complement planning activities.

For more information, E-Mail us at fred@ProbeEconomics.com
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