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Business Roundup

June 30, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 26

Lanxess will acquire an iron oxide pigments plant in Jinshan, China, from Jinzhuo Chemicals. Lanxess has already leased half the plant's 30,000 metric tons per year of production capacity. Lanxess says the plant started up last year, producing yellow iron oxide pigments.

Cyanco, a joint venture of Evonik Industries and Nevada Chemicals, plans a 50% increase in sodium cyanide capacity in Winnemucca, Nev., by 2010. Increased demand in the Nevada mining region for the chemical, used to extract gold from ore, is behind the project, Cyanco says.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. will build a polypropylene compounding plant in Genk, Belgium. The plant will have capacity for 140,000 metric tons per year of various compounds based on the company's polypropylene production. It is expected to open in early 2010.

Bayer plans to invest roughly $150 million at its Brazilian sites through the end of 2009, Chairman Werner Wenning announced at a press conference at a company facility in Belford Roxo, Brazil, held to mark that site's 50th anniversary. About $60 million will go into the Belford Roxo site and the balance to other Bayer sites in Brazil.

Agrium may have to write off $280 million that it already invested in a $1.4 billion nitrogen fertilizer facility in Damietta, Egypt, after the Egyptian government voted to relocate the project. Agrium says moving the facility is not a viable option and now is in talks to resolve the matter.

QuantumSphere has purchased fellow California company Energetics to boost R&D efforts in lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen production, and biofuels. Subramanian Iyer, Energetics' founder and chairman, will become QuantumSphere's principal technologist.

The European Crop Protection Association reports that regional police in Russia have uncovered a major pesticide counterfeiting facility. The police raided premises near the city of Kursk last week and found around 100 metric tons of counterfeit and illegal pesticide products with an estimated market value of more than $1.5 million.

Genzyme and Isis Pharmaceuticals have finalized an agreement announced earlier this year by which Genzyme will receive worldwide rights to mipomersen, an antisense-based cholesterol drug developed by Isis that is in Phase III clinical trials. Isis will receive a $175 million license fee and could receive more than $1.5 billion in other payments.

WuXi PharmaTech and Covance are planning a joint venture to build a preclinical contract research facility in Suzhou, China. Set to open next year, the center will provide toxicology, drug metabolism, and bioanalytical chemistry services. WuXi will provide the facility and Covance will invest about $30 million.



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