By Patick Raleigh, UT On-line/news editorLondon-Stepan Europe has is to increase prices for its Stepanpol range of aromatic polyester polyols by around 20 percent. The move, which follows a 10-percent hike in July, is linked to a continuing hike in diethylene glycol (DEG) prices, said Roger Stubbs, director of the group's European Polymers operation."With DEG up 100 percent and ortho-xylene up 30 percent the total raws have risen 65 percent. This has driven the cost of the finished polyols up by over 50 percent. Adding that to the market prices of Q1 2004 we must now sell at over 1200 Euro/tonne just to maintain our old margin," Stubbs said in a prepared statement. This is not about making more money, but about surviving, continued the Stepan executive, while acknowledging that many customers are currently facing problems related to MDI shortages. However, stated Stubbs, "We do not want to see the polyols industry repeat what has happened to the MDI. A lack of re-investment caused by a sustained period of little or no profit will ultimately benefit no-one. This is a challenging time for the rigid PU industry which requires responsibility all along the chain."