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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: December 15, 2008

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North America

Job Cut

Dow Chemical Co. will cut 5,000 full-time jobs, about 11% of its total workforce, close 20 plants and sell several businesses to control costs amid the economic recession. The company expects the moves to save about $700 million per year by 2010. Dow will also temporarily idle 180 plants and remove 6,000 contractors from its payroll.


Pay and Job Cuts

Momentive Performance Materials is cutting the pay of 400 hourly workers by 25% and temporarily laying off 225 of them for periods ranging from two days to two weeks. The silicon products company has been hit by the slowdown in the automotive, construction, textiles and furniture market. Representatives of the union that represents 600 plant workers say they’ll challenge the pay cuts.

Oil From Animal Fat

Green Earth Technologies Inc. has found a way to make a substance chemically identical to crude oil from animal fat, a slaughterhouse by-product that is typically discarded en masse. The company is using this process to make 2-cycle and 4-cycle engine oil, which is marketed as G-Oil.


Distribution Relationship to be Discontinued

Rohm and Haas Co.’s powder coating business will discontinue its distribution relationship with ChemPoint in order to provide directly to customers. The relationship will end on Dec. 23, 2008.


Joint Venture

A joint petrochemicals venture between Dow Chemical Co. and Kuwaiti-based Petrochemicals Industries Co. will begin operations by January 1. The total enterprise value of K-Dow Petrochemicals is about $17.4 billion. K-Dow will make plastics for numerous uses, including consumer products, automotive parts and drug processing. The joint venture will be based in the Detroit, Michigan area.


Delfin Group will expand its North Charleston, South Carolina plant, adding 160 jobs during the next several years. The company plans to spend $55 million to upgrade the plant it bought for $20 million at the end of last year. The plant will help support the company’s automotive and industrial lubricants manufacturing.

Doubling Production

Petroleos Mexicanos is seeking bids to modernize the aromatics plant at its La Cangrejera, Mexico petrochemicals complex. It is aiming to double the production of paraxylene at the site. The company expects bids to be submitted in late February with work beginning in April. The updates should be completed by 2012.


Airgas, Inc. has completed the acquisition of Gordon Woods Industrial Welding Supply, Inc., Accu Air Gases & Equipment, LP and Summit Gas & Gear, LP. The three companies are related but separately managed industrial gas and welding supply distributorships with combined annual revenues of $25 million through 10 locations in southern California. All three businesses are now part of the Airgas West regional company.


Job Cut

Huntsman Corp. will cut 470 jobs in a new effort to trim costs in the unit that makes textile dyes and chemicals. Production of textile chemicals will be reduced in Langweid, Germany, affecting 150 of 350 jobs at the site. Sales offices and customer laboratories will be reduced by half. Most of the changes will be implemented in a year and are intended to cut annual costs by $60 million.

REACH Pre-Registrations

The European chemicals policy Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) was effective in June 2007. The first stage is now complete with the end of the pre-registration phase on December 1. BASF submitted 40,000 pre-registrations with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Substances that have not been pre-registered are not allowed to be manufactured in or imported to the EU from the end of pre-registration until their final registration. Registration deadlines differ depending on production volume and substance properties. By 2010 all substances manufactured or imported in annual volumes of 1,000 tons or more must be registered.


Environment Pollution Insurance Pilot

China has decided to launch environment pollution liability insurance pilots in Jiangsu, Hunan, Hubei, Henan, Chongging, Shenzhen, Ningbo and Shenyang. Companies that may cause pollution, or are mainly engaged in hazardous chemical product storage and transportation will be the major targets of the pilots.

Soybeans Get E.U. Approval

Monsanto Co. has received regulatory approval to import its Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans in the European Union. This follows the European Food Safety Authority’s positive scientific opinion in July that found Roundup Ready 2 Yield safe for import as food and feed.

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