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Business Roundup

May 12, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 19

Williams Cos. is considering construction of a second ethylene plant at its Geismar, La., site, said CEO Alan Armstrong during a call with investors. Williams is the 12th company to publicly disclose plans for a U.S. ethylene cracker using cheap raw materials extracted from shale gas.

BASF and Sinopec have agreed to build a neopentylglycol plant at their large integrated joint-venture site in Nanjing, China. The 40,000-metric-ton-per-year plant is scheduled to come on-line at the end of 2015.

FRX Polymers has raised $8 million from investors including Evonik Venture Capital and BASF Venture Capital. The money will be used to ramp up sales from a newly completed plant in Antwerp, Belgium, where the firm produces its inherently flame-retardant plastics and oligomers.

Thomas Swan, a specialty chemical firm based in Consett, En­gland, has secured an exclusive license to manufacture graphene nanoplatelets using a process developed by researchers at Trinity College Dublin. The new process, which can yield materials for applications such as polymer reinforcement, uses high-shear mixing techniques.

Sigma-Aldrich’s SAFC fine chemicals business unit has formed a technology alliance with BioTools, a manufacturer of chiroptical spectroscopic instruments. BioTools’ products will be combined with solid-state research technology, including powder and single-crystal X-ray diffraction, offered by SAFC’s Pharmorphix business to provide chiral-structure-determination tools and separation services.

The European Commission has cleared the merger of Ineos’s and Solvay’s European chlorine and polyvinyl chloride assets. The commission took up the two firms’ suggestion that they divest plants in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and the U.K. to create a competitor.

Anellotech has opening a pilot plant at its Pearl River, N.Y., site to make aromatic chemicals such as benzene and toluene from biomass. The start-up firm uses a catalytic process developed by George W. Huber, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Debiopharm Group has broadened an existing relationship with Yale University to include the discovery and development of oral compounds that inhibit macrophage migration inhibitory factor. MMIF is a regulatory cytokine linked to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.



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