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Business Roundup

January 26, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 4

Invista is in negotiations with trade unions and employee representatives to close its Wilton, England, facility. The plant employs a total of 300 workers who make nylon 6,6 polymer, hexamethylenediamine, and adipic acid. The company blames the planned closure on declining demand and a geographic shift of the nylon business to Asia.

Kemira's coatings subsidiary, Tikkurila, has launched a program to save roughly $30 million per year. It will involve cutting about 500 jobs out of the unit's 3,800 total employees. Kemira intends to list the coatings unit on the Helsinki Stock Exchange later this year.

Total Petrochemicals has expanded its styrene plant in Gonfreville, near Le Havre, France, by 50% to 600,000 metric tons per year, making it one of the largest such plants in Europe. At the same time, Total has closed its styrene plant in Carling, France, reducing its overall styrene capacity by 120,000 metric tons.

Lanxess will reduce production of butyl rubber at its plants in Sarnia, Ontario, and Zwijndrecht, Belgium, because of declining demand. Last month, Lanxess announced it would postpone breaking ground for a new butyl rubber plant in Singapore from this month to the fall.

Arkema has granted a license for its polyvinyl chloride production technology to Morocco's Société Nationale d'Electrolyse et de Pétrochimie. The Moroccan firm plans to build a 150,000-metric-ton-per-year PVC plant by the end of 2010 in Mohammedia, near Casablanca.

Dow Chemical has inked an agreement with India's Royal Castor Products to develop products based on castor oil. Derived from the seed of the castor plant, castor oil is used in lubricants, pharmaceuticals, brake fluids, adhesives, waxes, and other industrial applications.

Mitsubishi Chemical has signed a licensing agreement with Durham, N.C.-based light-emitting-diode specialist Cree. Under the agreement, Mitsubishi will have the right to manufacture freestanding gallium nitride substrates.

Xoma is cutting its workforce by about 42%, or 144 employees, largely in manufacturing, to realize $27 million in savings. The Berkeley, Calif.-based firm will focus on Xoma 052, its anti-inflammatory antibody for treating type 2 diabetes, which is in Phase II development.

Metabasis Therapeutics will cut 38 jobs, or 43% of its employees, and look to form collaborations and monetize assets. The San Diego-based company will focus on two Phase II candidates: MB07811, a thyroid hormone receptor agonist targeting hyperlipidemia, and MB07803, a fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase inhibitor for treating type 2 diabetes.



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