Large deal announcements such as Dow Chemical's plan to purchase Rohm and Haas, BASF's takeover of Ciba, and Ashland's agreement to buy Hercules propelled third-quarter merger and acquisition activity in the chemical industry, according to a new analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a tax and advisory services firm. PwC says about $32 billion in chemical deals was announced in the quarter, a jump from the $16 billion announced in the first half of the year. Michael Clifford, Canadian chemicals leader at PwC, says the figures show that the chemical industry is still preparing for future growth, despite the tough state of the economy. More than 80% of deals announced in the first nine months involved strategic, rather than financial, investors, reflecting the current tightness of credit markets. In total, PwC counted 622 deals in the nine-month period, on pace to exceed the 759 deals announced in 2006 and approach the 849 in 2007.