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A deal Belgium-based Solvay thought it had sealed in September (C&EN, Sept. 14, 2009, page 18) to buy a majority stake in a Berezniki, Russia, soda ash plant from Sodium Group Investment (SGI) has gone sour. Days after the expiration of Solvay’s purchase agreement with SGI, Russian antitrust authorities inexplicably approved the sale to Solvay and also to a different buyer, the Bashkhim Group, Solvay says. Now Bashkhim owns the plant, according to Solvay, and controls 65% of the Russian soda ash market. Solvay says it is considering “strategic options” in the matter.
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