Sun Chemical Europe has warned that a force majeure issued by the two major suppliers of ethyl acetate will result in a rise in the prices of its solvent based inks and coatings by as much as three per cent. Ethyl acetate is widely used as a fast drying solvent in the manufacture and blending of gravure and flexo packaging inks, a sector in which Sun is market leader.

It blames manufacturing problems at the Hull complex of BP Chemicals – Europe’s biggest supplier of ethyl acetate – which is producing substantially under capacity. “Due to these problems, the other major global supplier of ethyl acetate is also short of product, resulting in Celanese also declaring force majeure. It is estimated that only 60 per cent of the required volume is reaching the market.

“As a result, BP has declared a force majeure with a disastrous effect on prices. It is doubling the previous contract price, with a savage knock-on effect on spot prices that are currently up 300 per cent,” the company states.

Richard Pettifor, Sun’s corporate vp, states: “We cannot continue to absorb this increase in our costs. Consequently, we regretfully have to pass this on to the flexible packaging market.”

More information from Bob Mittins, Sun Chemical Europe EMAIL: