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Business Roundup

May 20, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 20

Mitsui & Co. will take a 50% interest in a Celanese project, announced last June, to build a 1.3 million-metric-ton methanol plant at Celanese’s site in Clear Lake, Texas. The plant, which will cost about $800 million to build, is expected to open in 2015.

LyondellBasell is closing a 100,000-metric-ton-per-year high-density polyethylene plant in Wesseling, Germany, during the third quarter of this year. The company says the unit is the smallest and least efficient of its HDPE plants in Europe.

Bayer CropScience is planning to build a glufosinate ammonium herbicide plant near Mobile, Ala. Bayer wants to double its global capacity for the product, which is meant to address the growing problem of weeds resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides.

BASF has agreed to sell a water treatment business, Industrial Water Management France, to Degrémont, a subsidiary of France’s Suez Environnement. Degrémont will continue to run operations in Lyon and La Courneuve, France. BASF says the sale is part of a strategy to divest its service-oriented water treatment business.

W.R. Grace has reached an agreement with Al Dahra Agriculture to build a $200 million fluid cracking catalyst facility in the United Arab Emirates. Scheduled to start up in 2015, it will supply refineries in the Middle East and South Asia.

Albemarle is forming a joint venture with the Chinese firm Senze Meilu to build a 50,000-metric-ton-per-year precipitated alumina trihydrate flame retardants plant in Lvliang, Shanxi province, China. Senze processes bauxite and alumina.

Clariant has invested an undisclosed amount in Ultimate EOR Services, an enhanced oil recovery technology firm that was spun off of the Center for Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. The start-up’s services include reservoir screening, surfactant formulations, and modeling.

Trevena, a drug discovery company specializing in G protein-coupled-receptor-biased ligands, and Forest Laboratories Holding Ltd., a subsidiary of Forest Laboratories, have entered a collaborative licensing option agreement for the development of TRV027, a therapy for acute heart failure. Forest will make a $30 million equity investment in Trevena, and the option will be granted to Forest following Phase II trials currently being funded by Trevena.

Merck Serono is upping its investment in its corporate venture capital fund, MS Ventures, to roughly $129 million. The company says the increased commitment to the fund, created in 2009 with $52 million to support emerging biotech companies, is a long-term mandate to foster new technologies and products.



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