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Business Roundup

November 3, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 44

Lanxess will invest nearly $50 million to expand its aromatics network in Leverkusen, Germany. The specialty chemical producer will increase by 60% production of cresols, cresol derivatives, and monochlorobenzene to support growing customer demand. The new capacity is scheduled for completion by the beginning of 2010.

Matheson Tri-Gas, the U.S. subsidiary of Taiyo Nippon Sanso, has opened a helium distribution center in Irwindale, Calif., to service both Asian and local customers and will shortly open a second distribution point in Newark, Calif. The firm and its partner, Air Products & Chemicals, are building a helium plant that will start up in 2010 in Big Piney, Wyo., to boost quantities of the gas that is in chronically short supply and is used in research, medical, and other applications.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan is investing $150 million to increase its stake in Israel Chemicals by 1%, to 11%. The company says offshore investments, including its stake in Israel Chemicals and in Chile's SQM, China's Sinofert, and Jordan's Arab Potash, are worth $4.9 billion and added nearly $140 million to its third-quarter earnings.

Vietnam will invest $1.5 billion in a fertilizer complex on Russia's Caspian coast. The plant will produce 850,000 metric tons of ammonia and 750,000 metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer per year. The deal is one of 12 new projects, including joint ventures for oil and gas exploration, between the two countries, according to the Russian News & Information Agency.

Albemarle has begun worker consultations regarding sale of its Port de Bouc, France, brominated and fine chemicals site to International Chemical Investors group, a private equity fund that has acquired 14 independent chemical businesses since 2004. Albemarle expects to take a pretax charge of $25 million to $30 million on the sale.

Laureate Pharma, in Princeton, N.J., has landed a cGMP manufacturing contract with Tolera Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that develops and markets targeted therapies for immune modulation. Under the agreement, Laureate will produce Tolera's TOL101 monoclonal antibody for use in clinical trials.

Argonne National Laboratory; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; the University of Illinois, Chicago; and Northwestern University have formed the Illinois Center for Advanced Tribology. The center will solicit funds from public and industrial sources to research lubrication problems in extreme medical and transportation environments.

Danisco has agreed to acquire Agtech Products, a U.S.-based maker of microbial additives for animal digestion and livestock waste treatment for $42 million. Agtech has 47 employees and annual sales of $12 million, and its acquisition is expected to help the Danish enzymes maker expand its animal nutrition business.



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