PolyCarbon to buy Borregaard unit and take new name
Pharmaceutical chemical maker PolyCarbon Industries has agreed to acquire Borregaard Synthesis in Newburyport, Mass., for an undisclosed sum. PolyCarbon will rename itself PCI Synthesis and move its headquarters to Newburyport. According to PCI President Edward Price, the deal will allow his company to continue meeting customer commitments following the March loss of its Leominster, Mass., chemical synthesis operation to an explosion. He says PCI started transferring production to the Borregaard site soon after the explosion in an effort to keep its pipeline of 11 active pharmaceutical ingredients intact. Price adds that the purchase will double sales at PCI and boost its staff from 20 employees today to more than 50. It also will increase PCI's manufacturing capacity 10-fold and add sophisticated isolation equipment. For Norway-based Borregaard, the sale continues a retrenchment in fine chemicals. The firm closed its Madone, Italy, plant earlier this year and last month sold the site to Intergreen, an Italian firm.
Ciba mulls future of textile unit
Ciba Specialty Chemicals has accelerated the restructuring of its textile chemicals business in response to the shift of the textiles market and Ciba's customers to Asia. A review of the textile effects business concluded that although the global textile market will continue to offer opportunities, additional action is needed in order to put the business on a lower cost base and improve profitability, the company says. Potential options range from internal solutions to a divestment of the business.
Nalco owners reduce stake
Nalco owners Apollo Management, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, and the Blackstone Group have sold 33.4 million shares of the water treatment company in a secondary offering, reducing their stake to less than 50%. Neither Nalco nor its management will share in the proceeds. The entire $615 million raised will go only to the investment bankers who arranged to buy Nalco in November 2003 for $4.2 billion. Including funds from the firm's initial public offering in November, the investment group has sold more than $1.3 billion in stock.
Lanxess sets new cutbacks
Lanxess is embarking on a second round of restructuring following its spin-off from Bayer, with a goal of achieving annual savings of nearly $75 million. About 450 jobs will be lost, mainly in U.S. and European operations for technical rubber products, leather chemicals, inorganic pigments, and textile chemicals. In technical rubber, Lanxess will reorganize its site in La Wantzenau, France. Three U.S. plants will be closed: an inorganic yellow pigment plant in New Martinsville, W.Va.; a RheinChemie unit in Trenton, N.J.; and a textile chemical plant in Wellford, S.C. Lanxess will take a one-time charge of roughly $122 million to achieve the savings, two-thirds of which are to be achieved by 2007, with the full annual amount reached in 2008.
Court allows lead paint suit
New Jersey's Appellate Court has reversed a 2002 lower court ruling that dismissed a case brought by 26 state municipalities against lead pigment and paint makers. The appeals court disallowed fraud, unjust enrichment, and other claims made against the lead pigment producers, which include Sherwin-Williams, NL Industries, Cytec Industries, and DuPont. However, the court allowed the case to proceed on a claim that the pigment makers created a public nuisance. The municipalities want to recover the cost of lead paint removal.
Süd Chemie offer amended
The tender offer that J.P. Morgan Chase investment arm One Equity Partners made for Süd Chemie has few takers so far. The per-share offer of 35 euros (about $43) attracted 0.004% of the company's share capital, management points out. "Shareholders complied almost unanimously with the recommendation issued by the managing board and the supervisory board of Süd Chemie," the company says. OEP has revised its offer, removing the contingency of acquiring a majority stake in the company. In June, OEP struck a deal to acquire a 39% interest in Süd Chemie from three major shareholders.
Celanese buys holdout shares
Celanese Corp. has purchased most of the shares in Celanese AG that it didn't already own, after striking deals with minority Celanese AG shareholders Paulson & Co. and Bleichroeder Advisers. The deal pays the shareholders $62 per share for their roughly 6 million combined shares, plus a $2.50-per-share settlement fee. The deal ups U.S.-based Celanese Corp.'s stake in its German predecessor from 83.9% to 95.7%. Celanese can now "squeeze out" remaining Celanese AG shareholders with a tender offer and delist Celanese AG from the Frankfurt stock exchange. Investment firm Blackstone Group acquired the 84% stake in Celanese AG in 2004 through a $40-per-share offer and formed Celanese Corp.
EU targets antifoulants
AMBIO, the European Union's research project on preventing the buildup of organisms on marine surfaces, is well under way following its March launch, participants report. Some 30 business and science partners from 14 countries are involved in the $22 million, five-year project. Ships with fouled hulls require 40% more fuel to travel at the same speed as unfouled vessels, but workhorse organotin antifoulants are being phased out in Europe. AMBIO--Advanced Nanostructured Surfaces for the Control of Biofouling--takes another approach. According to Harald Keller, a polymer researcher at BASF, coatings made of nanostructured polymers can alter the wetting properties of surfaces "to signal that the site is not suitable for the organisms to settle."
SOCMA sells Informex
The Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association has sold Informex, its trade show for custom and batch chemical makers, to CMP Information for an undisclosed sum. CMP Information, part of London-based United Business Media, already runs the competing CPhI (Convention on Pharmaceutical Ingredients) events. Of the sale, SOCMA President Joseph Acker says, "Informex has now evolved, and it was time to consider new opportunities in the best interest of our association." CMP says it plans to expand the Informex brand on a global scale.
Rohm and Haas plans pad unit
Rohm and Haas's electronic materials business will spend $50 million on a manufacturing and technology center in Taiwan's Hsinchu Science Park. The plant will manufacture polymer-based pads used in the chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) of semiconductor wafers. The technology center will support the company's pad and CMP slurry businesses. Production will begin in early 2007, and the company expects the center to employ more than 150 people by 2010.
Ventures slate peptide output
U.S.-based Nobex and India's Biocon have reached an agreement for codevelopment of an oral version of Scios' Natrecor, a peptide for the treatment of heart disease. The pact combines Nobex's oral peptide delivery technology with Biocon's peptide production capability. Separately, Unigene Laboratories has completed the transfer of its recombinant manufacturing process for the peptide drug calcitonin to Novartis' Sandoz generic drug unit in Europe. Sandoz will supply Unigene, which launched a nasal calcitonin product earlier this month.
Ranbaxy opens major drug lab
Indian pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy has inaugurated a drug discovery lab providing work space for up to 700 people at Gurgaon, a city near New Delhi in India's Haryana state. This is the third lab Ranbaxy has set up at Gurgaon since 1994, when the company decided to compete internationally. The lab will enhance the firm's capabilities in medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular technologies, infectious diseases, metabolism, and pharmacokinetics.
LG venture boosts methyl methacrylate
LG MMA has started building a 76,000-metric-ton-per-year methyl methacrylate plant in Yeosu, South Korea. When the facility goes onstream in April 2008, LG MMA's capacity for MMA will reach 176,000 metric tons. Demand for the material is brisk in South Korea, where it is used in making light guides for liquid-crystal displays. To supply this application, LG MMA also operates a polymerization facility making use of Sumitomo Chemical technology. LG MMA is owned 50% by LG Corp., 25% by Sumitomo Chemical, and 25% by Nippon Shokubai.
Chemical output slips in July
U.S. chemical production declined in July from the previous month, according to seasonally adjusted data from the Federal Reserve Board. The numbers show that the production index for all chemicals fell 0.1% from June to 113.4 (1997 = 100). This index was up 3.3% from July of last year. Output of basic chemicals fell 0.8% from June to an index of 90.8, marking the ninth straight month-to-month decline for this important industry sector. The July index for this sector was down 4.5% from the comparable month in 2004.