Business Roundup | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 18 | p. 19 | Concentrates
Issue Date: April 30, 2012

Business Roundup

Department: Business

Univar, the chemical distributor, has named J. Erik Fyrwald as president and CEO, effective May 7. Now president of Ecolab, Fyrwald was CEO of Nalco from 2008 until it was acquired by Ecolab in December 2011. Previously, he was a longtime DuPont executive.

H.B. Fuller will close six plants and eliminate about 130 positions across North America as part of its integration of Forbo’s industrial adhesives business, which it bought earlier this year. Fuller says it will announce the results of its non-North American integration efforts in the coming months.

Rhodia has signed a letter of intent to become the only customer of a rare-earth project in Madagascar planned by Tantalus Rare Earths. Under the agreement, the French company will buy up to 15,000 metric tons per year of rare-earth products from the planned mine.

Versalis is the new name of Polimeri Europa, the chemicals arm of Italian oil firm Eni. The firm says the name change is part of a bid to reinvigorate its chemicals portfolio. The change also will help it “overcome the geographical and operational confines inherent in the name ‘Polimeri Europa.’ ”

Kaneka will spend almost $100 million to expand its polyimide film capacity to more than 3,200 metric tons per year. The Japanese firm’s main project will be construction of a 600-metric-ton plant at an existing site in Malaysia. Polyimide film is used to make flexible printed circuit boards.

AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan will retire effective June 1. The firm announced the retirement as it released first-quarter results, in which it revealed an 11% decline in sales. AstraZeneca, which has been hit hard by generics competition, also lowered its earnings target for the year.

Life Technologies will spend $20 million to expand its cell-culture facility in Inchinnan, Scotland, near Glasgow. To be completed in 2014, the project will support rising demand for Gibco-brand cell-culture products in biological drug research and production, the company says.

Targacept will cut its workforce almost in half to 65 employees as part of a plan to focus on clinical programs and select preclinical projects. Targacept and Astra­Zeneca recently dropped development of an antidepressant after it failed to improve depression in a Phase III study.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation will fund a Phase Ib study of the safety and tolerability of Sanofi’s AVE8112 in people with Parkinson’s disease. The nonprofit will share the data generated in the study of AVE8112, a PDE4 inhibitor, with Sanofi.

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