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Business Roundup

September 29, 2008 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 86, Issue 39

Ticona, Celanese's engineering polymers business, will begin construction in Nanjing, China, next year on a liquid-crystal polymers plant. The plant will make 7,000 metric tons per year of the polymers, which are used in electrical connectors, and is set to open in 2010.

Oxea and Chengxing Group are planning a joint venture to build an amines chemical plant in China's Changzhou Yangtze River Chemical Industrial Park. The venture, to be majority owned by Germany-based Oxea, will supply Asian customers that use amines to make pharmaceuticals, dyes, agrochemicals, and polymer additives.

Solvay Solexis has entered a joint development agreement with Strategic Polymer Sciences that centers on capacitor dielectric materials based on polyvinylidene fluoride. The partners are targeting capacitors for hybrid electric vehicles, a market that could reach $1.6 billion by 2015, Solvay says.

PPG Industries is acquiring BASF's North American coil and extrusion coatings business, which employs about 200 people. PPG will consolidate operations in Springdale, Pa., where it will invest about $8 million. BASF will eventually close plants in Decatur, Ala., and Belvidere, N.J.

W. R. Grace has filed a new reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The latest plan includes elements of an agreement with asbestos claimants reached in April of this year and moves Grace a step closer to resolving its seven-plus-year-old bankruptcy case.

BASF will cut back production of polystyrene in Europe by 25% as of Oct. 1. The reduction will be split evenly between plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Antwerp, Belgium. The company says the economic downturn has diminished demand for standard-grade polystyrene.

SouthWest NanoTechnologies has opened a new 18,000-sq-ft headquarters and manufacturing facility in Norman, Okla. SWeNT was created in 2001 around technology developed at the University of Oklahoma by Daniel Resasco. The company will use the plant to produce single-walled carbon nanotubes.

Konarka Technologies, in Lowell, Mass., has licensed a new family of photoactive polycarbazole polymers developed by Mario Leclerc, director of the Macromolecular Science & Engineering Research Center of Laval University, in Quebec City. Konarka will explore use of the polymers in photovoltaic modules.

Phillip Morris, the tobacco company, has invested roughly $16 million in Medicago, a Quebec-based biotech firm that says it produces recombinant vaccine antigens in the cells of nontransgenic plants. The company says its plant approach is cheaper and faster than egg-based and cell-culture-based vaccine technologies.

ChemBridge, a San Diego-based contract research organization with labs in Moscow, has sealed a new discovery chemistry deal with AstraZeneca. Scientists from both companies will collaborate on small-molecule libraries to be used by AstraZeneca. ChemBridge completed a contract with AstraZeneca earlier this year.

Neose Technologies will liquidate itself by selling most of its assets to Danish drug firm Novo Nordisk and German biotech BioGeneriX, for $43 million. Neose had partnerships with both companies.



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