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Business Roundup

July 7, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 27

PPG Industries will pay $2.3 billion to acquire Comex, a Mexican paint company with annual sales of about $1.0 billion. Sherwin-Williams earlier tried to buy Comex for the same amount but was rebuffed by Mexican antitrust authorities. PPG says it has a negligible presence in Mexico.

Kuraray will spend $25 million to expand capacity for polyvinyl alcohol films at its MonoSol subsidiary in Portage, Ind. MonoSol supplies the films for unit-dose products such as Tide Pods laundry detergent.

BASF, Huntsman Corp., and three Chinese partners have started building a 240,000-metric-ton-per-year methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) plant in Caojing, China, that will double their capacity for the polyurethane intermediate at the site. The partners originally stated plans for the project in 2006.

Bayer MaterialScience will close a site in Darmstadt, Germany, with the loss of 90 jobs as part of measures to reduce costs across its polycarbonate sheet business. The firm also plans to sell its sheet business in Australia and New Zealand.

Mitsubishi Rayon will double its carbon fiber capacity to 4,000 metric tons per year at its site in Sacramento, Calif. The company says global demand for the fiber is growing by 20% annually, driven by compressed natural gas fuel tanks and lightweight electric vehicles.

Haldor Topsøe is building a plant in Joinville, Brazil, for catalysts that reduce NOx emissions from diesel trucks and buses. Topsøe expects strong growth for catalysts in the country, where 225,000 trucks were produced last year.

Metabolic Explorer, a French industrial biotech firm, has signed up South Korea’s SK Chemicals as exclusive licensee of its route to 1,3-propanediol via fermentation of crude glycerin. Metabolic Explorer says the license supplants its own plan to develop a propanediol plant in Malaysia.

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals of Chesterbrook, Pa., will merge with QLT, a Canadian ophthalmology drug firm. The new firm will be incorporated in Canada. It will try to find a partner for QLT’s oral synthetic retinoid program, which is nearing Phase III studies in patients with a rare eye disorder called Leber congenital amaurosis.



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