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April 2, 2007 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 85, ISSUE 14

Shell has started building its new Singapore petrochemical complex, which features an 800,000-metric-ton-per-year ethylene cracker. The complex will open by early 2010. Also in Singapore, ExxonMobil Chemical has increased capacity at its ethylene cracker to 900,000 metric tons.

DSM has withdrawn a proposal to pay a loyalty dividend to shareowners who hold onto their DSM stock for at least three years. The Amsterdam Court of Appeals nixed the plan, agreeing with U.S. fund manager Franklin Templeton Investments that the plan would discriminate against short-term stock owners.

Merck & Co. and the Danish drugmaker H. Lundbeck have discontinued a joint development program for gaboxadol, an insomnia drug that was in Phase III development. The companies say "the overall clinical profile for gaboxadol in insomnia does not support further development."

DSM is building a new engineering plastics compounding plant in Ranjangaon, India. The plant will triple the firm's Indian manufacturing capacity for nylon 6, nylon 4/6, polyethylene terephthalate, and polybutylene terephthalate.

J. M. Huber plans to build a 40,000-metric-ton-per-year precipitated dental silica plant at a yet-to-be-determined site in China. The plant will help toothpaste makers satisfy demand in the fast-growing Chinese market.

Tripos Discovery Informatics was launched last week by Vector Capital, which acquired the informatics software business of St. Louis-based Tripos last year. Jim Hopkins has been named CEO of the new company.

Schering-Plough and Merck & Co. plan to develop a drug combining their jointly developed cholesterol therapy Zetia with Lipitor when Pfizer's patent on the top-selling statin drug expires in 2010. Currently, Zetia is sold in combination with Merck's Zocor as Vytorin.

Arkema is increasing capacity for dimethyl disulfide at its Lacq, France, plant by 30%. DMDS is used in ethylene steam crackers to delay coke formation and inhibit carbon monoxide formation. It is also used for catalyst activation in oil-refinery hydrotreating reactors.



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