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Business Roundup

December 6, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 49

BASF is buying the styrene catalyst business of Royal Dutch Shell’s catalyst arm, CRI/Criterion, for an undisclosed sum. CRI/Criterion makes catalysts for the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene into styrene.

AkzoNobel will again increase capacity for trimethylgallium at its plant in LaPorte, Texas. The company doubled capacity in June in response to strong demand from makers of light-emitting diodes. It now says it will again double capacity by February 2011.

Merck KGaA has joined the German Federal Ministry of Education & Research in a $2.6 million project to develop ionic-liquid-based lubricants for wind turbines. The new lubricants will be used in the gearboxes of high-megawatt wind turbines planned for offshore wind parks in Germany.

Evonik Industries and AU Optronics, a Taiwanese maker of liquid-crystal displays, will double the capacity of their joint venture polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) plant to 85,000 metric tons per year. The firms will also research uses for PMMA sheets in solar, lighting, and other green energy markets.

Arkema will triple its polyamide 11 and 12 production capacity at its site in Changshu in China’s Jiangsu province. The firm says a 6,000-metric-ton-per-year polymerization line will be completed in 2013.

Dow Chemical will open a polyurethanes technology center in Jundiaí, Brazil, next month. The $2 million, 1,200-m2 facility will be equipped for chemical and physical analyses and with machines that simulate polyurethane formulation.

Fujifilm has bought out partner Wacker Chemie in Planar Solutions, a joint venture that manufactures chemical mechanical planarization slurries for polishing silicon wafers. Fujifilm became half owner of Planar in 2005 when it acquired Arch Chemicals’ interest in the venture.

Anacor Pharmaceuticals has formed an R&D collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco, and the New York Blood Center to discover new therapies for river blindness. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing $3.6 million over two years to fund the effort.

Novartis will reduce its general medicines business sales force in the U.S. by about 1,400 positions effective on Jan. 1, 2011. The company says the cuts reflect pending patent expirations and a shift in sales resources to its primary and specialty care businesses.



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