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christa.jpg (5628 bytes) Chemical Industry News Editor Christa Semko
Every two weeks, Christa will bring you the latest chemical industry news from around the world.  If you have a press release that you'd like to share with us, please mail it to us through our online contact form here.

Dateline: July 22, 2008

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North America


Ashland Inc. will acquire Hercules Inc. for $3.3 billion.  Under the agreement, Ashland will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Hercules.  Ashland is a manufacturer of specialty chemicals, a distributor of chemicals and plastics and a provider of automotive lubricants, car-care products and quick-lube services.  Hercules is a supplier of specialty chemicals to the pulp and paper industry.


Dow Chemical Co. plans to buy Rohm and Haas Co. for more than $15 billion.  The acquisition is part of Dow’s effort to move into the specialty chemicals market in the hopes of providing a buffer against ups and downs in basic chemical sales.  The deal has been approved by both companies’ boards and is pending approval by Rohm and Haas shareholders as well as regulators.

Renewable fuels

Tyson Foods and Syntroleum Corporation have approved plans to build and fund Dynamic Fuels’ first renewable synthetic fuels facility in Geismar, Louisiana.  Dynamic Fuels is a 50/50 joint venture between Tyson and Syntroleum to convert low-grade, inedible fats and greases into renewable fuels for the military and civilian markets.  Construction should begin in October with completion expected by the end of 2009.  The project will use various non-food grade animal fats produced or procured by Tyson Foods, such as beef tallow, pork lard, chicken fat and greases, with annual capacity expected to be 75 million gallons.


PPG Industries has acquired Vanex Inc.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Vanex Inc. is a coatings manufacturer based in Mount Vernon, Illinois.  PPG sees the acquisition as an enhancement to the PPG TrueFinish business, which provides a range of liquid and powder coatings to manufacturers, custom coaters and distributors throughout North America.

Technology center and headquarters

Momentive Performance Materials plans to spend $81 million on a new technology center and headquarters in Rensselaer County, New York.  A final location is slated to be chosen by this fall.  Construction on the $65 technology center should begin in 2009 and is estimated to take 18 months to complete.  After that, work will begin on the $16 million headquarters building.  The technology center is being built to meet customer needs and help them develop successful applications of silicone materials.


Equipment and Technical Services Inc. (ETS) has integrated the operations of its subsidiary, Geonav Marine Systems, with its existing equipment rentals and services under the ETS name.  ETS is a provider of offshore surveying and positioning solutions.  ETS’ system sales division now includes Geonav’s experts and its product lines.



Clariant acquired the combined companies of Rite Systems Inc. and Rico Colors Inc.  The purchase helps to strengthen Clariant’s masterbatches’ market position in North America.  The transition was effective July 1.  Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


Sasol Wax will expand its hydro-treating capacity for paraffin waxes at its Hamburg, Germany plant.  The project will increase the company’s paraffin wax capacity in Germany by 15%.  Sasol Wax expects the project to be completed by the middle of 2009.  The expansion is part of the company’s program to increase global capacity to align with projected growth in key markets.  The company also plans to double its production capacity of synthetic wax at its Sasolburg, South Africa plant by 2013.


In the fourth quarter of 2008, BASF plans to begin constructing a second oxidizing plant for the production of synthetic waxes at its Ludwigshafen, Germany site.  Beginning in 2010, the plant will produce several thousand metric tons of oxidized waxes, doubling BASF’s current production capacity.  The waxes are primarily used in plastics processing.

Expansion complete

HaiKe Chemical Group Ltd.’s expansion of its caustic soda production facility is complete and the plant is now fully operational.  The production capacity has grown from 55,000 tons to 100,000 tons since September 2007.  The total investment in the project was RMB 80 million.


Albemarle Corp. has completed its acquisition of Ningbo Jinhai Albemarle Chemical & Industry Co. Ltd. and Shanghai Jinhai Albemarle Fine Chemicals Co. Ltd.  Albemarle now has 100 percent ownership of these two polymer additive joint ventures, and both are now considered wholly owned subsidiaries.

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