If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Business Concentrates

November 1, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 44

Celanese to exit acetate filament and acquire acetyls maker Acetex <br >

Celanese will close several cellulose acetate flake and tow plants and exit the acetate filament business in a consolidation that will result in the loss of 900 to 1,100 positions worldwide, or about 10% of the company's workforce. Celanese, which is in the process of moving its headquarters from Germany to the U.S. in anticipation of an initial public offering, says it wants to focus on markets that provide long-term value. Celanese helped pioneer the acetate filament industry in the 1920s but says the business has been suffering in recent years from substitution of nonacetate textile fibers. About 700 of the lost jobs are in the filament business, where production in Narrows, Va., and Ocotlan, Mexico, will end next year. Separately, Celanese's parent, Blackstone Crystal Holdings, has agreed to acquire Acetex for $492 million and merge it with Celanese. Acetex makes acetic acid and vinyl acetate, mainly in Europe, and had sales last year of $484 million. Celanese also makes such products. Acetex CEO Brooke N. Wade says Celanese will continue to develop his firm's previously announced Saudi Arabian acetyls project.

Glaxo acquires diabetes drug

GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to acquire exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Albugon (albumin-glucagon-like peptide-1), a diabetes drug currently in late-stage preclinical development by Human Genome Sciences. Under the agreement, HGS will receive an up-front fee as well as development and commercialization fees that could amount to as much as $183 million. Albugon was created with HGS technology that fuses the gene that expresses human albumin to the gene that expresses a therapeutic protein, helping to prolong protein half-life.


Chemical prices soar again

U.S. chemical prices continued to surge in September, according to the Labor Department. The Producer Price Index for all chemicals increased 1.6% from the previous month to 178.8 (1982 = 100). The index in September was 10.8% ahead of where it had been in September 2003. The index for the important industrial chemicals category was reported at 173.0, 3.0% above the previous month and 23.7% ahead of September of last year. The industrial chemicals category was paced by basic organics, where the index hit 187.3, marking increases of 3.6% from the previous month and of 30.2% from the comparable month in 2003.


Dalton Chemical wraps up plant expansion

Dalton Chemical Laboratories, a provider of chemistry and analytical services to the biotech and drug industries, has completed a $1.4 million expansion of its Toronto facility. CEO Peter Pekos says the project adds a peptide synthesis laboratory, a microbiology laboratory, an oligonucleotide production suite, and a quality assurance suite. "Pharmaceutical development is a tremendous area to be in right now, as many exciting new approaches to treat disease are coming to fruition," he says.


Crompton to hike additive

Crompton will build a new plant in Geismar, La., for alkylated diphenylamine, an antioxidant sold under the Naugalube name. The company says the plant, to open by the middle of next year, will make use of equipment that is being idled as a result of the previously announced reduction in output of 4-aminodiphenyl amine, a rubber antiozonant intermediate. Crompton says the Naugalube investment is being spurred by changing customer requirements brought on by new auto motor oil specifications.


Great Lakes and Teijin in retardant pact

Great Lakes Chemical and Japan's Teijin Chemicals are planning a joint venture, to be 50% owned by each company and headquartered in Japan, in brominated carbonate oligomer flame retardants used in polybutylene terephathalate and polycarbonate resins. Great Lakes will be the exclusive marketer of the product, made in El Dorado, Ark., and Matsuyama, Japan. At the K 2004 plastics show, Great Lakes CEO Mark Bulriss said the joint venture will increase his firm's reach in Asia.

Cyclics to open first facility

At K 2004, Cyclics Corp. displayed egg-shaped prototypes rotomolded in ordinary metal rice bowls.
At K 2004, Cyclics Corp. displayed egg-shaped prototypes rotomolded in ordinary metal rice bowls.

Cyclics Corp. announced at the K 2004 plastics show in Düsseldorf, Germany, that it will complete its first plant for cyclic butylene terephthalate in Schwarzheide, Germany, in early 2005. CBTs are low-viscosity cyclic oligomers that are polymerized to form polybutylene terephthalate. The firm says about half of the plant's 2,500-metric-ton-per-year capacity is under contract. It plans to double capacity in Schwarzheide by 2006 and says it is beginning a search for a location in Europe or North America for a much larger plant that would open in 2009.


Rohm and Haas and Hitachi boost CMP

Rohm and Haas has expanded capacity to produce chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) slurries at its Newark, Del., facility. The company says the "significant" expansion, of 3 million gal per year, increases its ability to supply semiconductor manufacturers with CMP slurries used to polish copper circuitry and barrier layers. Separately, Hitachi Chemical will expand its capability to supply cerium oxide-based CMP slurries for a semiconductor fabrication step called shallow trench isolation. Hitachi says it is building a 600-metric-ton-per-year plant that will open in January 2005.


ICI out of chlorine

ICI is cutting ties to the Ineos chlor-alkali business with the transfer of its 15% stake in Ineos Chlor to Ineos Group. It will also forgive $184 million in loans already made to Ineos Chlor as part of a financing package to modernize the Ineos facility in Runcorn, England. The transaction releases ICI from the obligation to provide an additional $101 million to fund the Runcorn project, which won't be completed until 2006. ICI sold most of its chlor-alkali business to Ineos Group in 2001.

Carbide wins asbestos suit

A Texas state court jury has ruled that the Union Carbide unit of Dow Chemical did not hide information about the dangers of asbestos and therefore does not have to pay $1.4 billion to joint-compound maker Kelly-Moore. Kelly-Moore used asbestos from Carbide and other companies to make joint compound from 1964 to 1977 and now faces more than 40,000 lawsuits from people who say they suffered lung disease because of exposure to the mineral. Kelly-Moore was counting on the money it hoped to win in the lawsuit to pay claims.


Rhodia debuts lab of the future

New Rhodia lab in Bordeaux, France, features automated equipment.
New Rhodia lab in Bordeaux, France, features automated equipment.

Rhodia unveiled its "laboratory of the future" in the Unitec science and technology park in Bordeaux, France. Designed to foster new approaches to research, the lab focuses on microfluidics, high-throughput and combinatorial testing methods, and the use of advanced informatics techniques. Rhodia will host scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research at the site and will also undertake research in cooperation with the University of Bordeaux.

Formosa hit by OSHA fine

OSHA has fined Formosa Plastics $362,000 following an investigation into the April 23 explosion and fire at its Illiopolis, Ill., polyvinyl chloride plant that killed five workers. OSHA issued citations for three willful violations and 45 serious violations. OSHA charges, among other things, that Formosa failed to maintain fire protection equipment and failed to replace or repair defective equipment used in highly hazardous chemical processes. The agency did not pinpoint the cause of the accident; that is being probed by the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board.


FMC strikes agchem deals

FMC Corp. has launched several initiatives aimed at expanding its business in specialty pesticides. The company has reached an agreement with Nippon Soda to develop the U.S. market for acetamiprid, a new termite control agent. It will market a new nursery and greenhouse insecticide, flonicamid, developed by Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha. It is working with Bayer CropScience to develop products that combine two leading active ingredients. And it is exploring licensing its SmartBiz software for Dow AgroSciences' Sentricon termite system.

China officials are punished for mishap

Authorities in Chongqing, China, have punished several officials after investigating explosions and chlorine leaks that killed nine people at state-owned Tianyuan Chemical in April, according to the Xinhua news agency. Some 150,000 people were evacuated in the incident. Authorities dismissed the chairman of Tianyuan and gave a warning to the company's Communist Party secretary. Authorities also gave "demerit records" to Miao Guan Kui, the chairman of Chongqing Chemical & Pharmaceutical Holding Group, which is in charge of improving the economic performance of local state-owned companies.


Dynea will build a 60,000-metric-ton-per-year wood panel adhesive resins plant and associated formaldehyde plant in Hatyai, Thailand, by the end of 2005, doubling its resins capacity in southern Thailand.

MedImmune will increase its planned delivery of FluMist nasal flu vaccine to 3 million doses from 1.1 million doses. The company says the increase is the result of recent discussions with U.S. health authorities.

DuPont has sold technology for producing silver-based antimicrobial powders to AirQual. AirQual says it will market the technology to makers of paints, building materials, and other products that require mold and mildew protection.

Synalloy has signed a letter of intent to sell its Blackman Uhler dyes business to an undisclosed investment group. After the sale, Synalloy's pigment business, currently a part of its colors segment, will become part of its specialty chemicals segment.

Praxair and BP have opened California's first retail-designed hydrogen fueling station, at Los Angeles International Airport. The station is a joint venture that also involves the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Cambrex has licensed quantitative assay detection technology from Johns Hopkins University that Cambrex will use to analyze drug, beverage, and food samples for the presence of contaminants.

Dow Chemical has opened its first commercial plant, in Tarragona, Spain, for XLA elastic fiber. A polyethylene monofilament fiber unveiled in September 2002, XLA is being billed as the first olefinic stretch fiber.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.