Volume 86 Issue 25 | p. 17 | Concentrates
Issue Date: June 23, 2008

Business Roundup

Department: Business

LyondellBasell intends to expand its global polypropylene compounding capacity by 30% to 1.2 million metric tons per year by the end of 2009. The company is establishing new plants in China and Saudi Arabia; expanding existing capacity in China, Thailand, and Argentina; and considering plants in India and Russia.

Dow Chemical has signed a memorandum of understanding to sell its Sarnia, Ontario, site to Canadian electric utility TransAlta. Dow has been shutting down capacity and demolishing the complex. It will close its last unit there, a propylene oxide derivatives unit, in 2009.

Dow Chemical will idle its King's Lynn, England, emulsion polymers plant by September. The company says it made the decision in light of rising raw material costs, overcapacity in latexes, drift of the industry to Asia, and troubles in the carpet and paper businesses.

Airgas has agreed to acquire Refron, a distributor of refrigerant chemicals that also provides technical and refrigerant reclamation services. Based in Long Island City, N.Y., Refron had sales last year of $93 million.

Lubrizol will close an acrylic emulsions plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, as part of a streamlining of its performance coatings business. The firm earlier closed a coatings plant in Lawrence, Mass. In addition, Lubrizol will cease production of styrene-butadiene latex at its Gastonia, N.C., plant and buy the material from outside suppliers.

Sumitomo Seika Chemicals will build a 1,500-metric-ton-per-year high-purity ammonia plant in Paju, South Korea. The company, 30% owned by Sumitomo Chemical, will supply the gas to manufacturers of semiconductors and liquid-crystal displays.

Roche will license an anticancer antibody, TB-403, that was jointly developed by the European firms ThromboGenics and BioInvent. Roche will pay the firms a total of almost $80 million up front and could make additional payments of up to $700 million if the drug is successful.

Patheon is spending $2.8 million to expand high-potency pharmaceutical production at its Manati, P.R., facility. The Toronto-based firm says it is adding three manufacturing suites that will enable it to combine bulk production, bulk packaging, and storage in one area.

GlaxoSmithKline has entered an alliance to develop Mpex Pharmaceuticals' efflux pump inhibitors, small molecules that block bacteria from expelling antibiotic treatments. Mpex will receive $8.5 million from GSK and $6.5 million in equity financing. It could receive up to $250 million for each successful product.

 
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