Solvay has increased its output of guar derivatives 40% by expanding facilities in Vernon, Texas, and Zhangjiagang, China. The firm also makes the products in Melle, France. Derivatives of guar, a plant extract, are used in oil and gas drilling as a gelling additive, in hair care products as a conditioner, and in agrochemicals as an antidrift agent. Volatility in guar supplies has plagued the industry recently. Last month Solvay competitor Ashland reported a $31 million loss because of fluctuating guar prices. Solvay says it enjoys a 50-year joint venture with an Indian guar producer.