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Chexpress - October 9, 2012




North America


Investment


Dow Corning Corp. is investing $117 million in its Auburn manufacturing site in Williams Township, Michigan. The investments will take place through 2015 and create 73 jobs. The work will increase advanced manufacturing capacity, expanded research and development capability and pay for infrastructure improvements at the site. One of the focus areas for the investments in silicon carbide wafer research, development and manufacturing. The investments will also focus on the development and manufacturing of silicon-based coatings that make touch screens easier to clean by minimizing smudged and stains caused by fingerprints, skin oil, sweat and cosmetics.

Production to Start


Hyponex Corp. plans to start production of Scotts Miracle-Gro products out of the former Goodyear building in Tyler, Texas by late November. The company searched more than 40 locations within 100 miles of Tyler for more than two years, working with local and state organizations for support. The Texas market of potting soil and mulch has grown from $30 million 14 years ago to $100 million now, and this growth fueled the search for a site in East Texas that was near necessary raw materials as well as located in a growing market area. The former Goodyear building was purchased on September 17. Miracle-Gro potting soils and Scotts Naturescape Advanced colored mulches will be manufactured at the plant. The facility will service Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas, with a focus on major customers like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart and independent retailers.

Research


General Motors will close its hydrogen fuel-cell research operation near Rochester, New York and move it to Michigan. Most of the company’s 220 salaried workers in Honeoye Falls, New York will be offered the chance to move to GM’s engine and transmission research unit in Pontiac, Michigan. The move will pull together the company’s experts on ways to move vehicles and will save money. GM will continue to focus on electric vehicles and fuel cell development.

Investments


Westlake Chemical Corporation is converting the feedstock for its Calvert City, Kentucky ethylene plant from propane to ethane along with increasing ethylene capacity from 450 million pounds/year to 630 million pounds/year. This expansion and feedstock conversion will enhance Westlake’s vinyl chain integration and leverage low cost ethane being developed in the Marcellus shale area. In addition, the company will expand its PVC plant in Calvert City, adding approximately 200 million pounds/year of capacity to the existing 1,100 million pounds of annual capacity. These projects are estimated to cost between $210 and $240 million. The ethylene expansion and feedstock conversion project is expected to start up in the second quarter of 2014 and the PVC expansion is expected to start up in late 2014.

 

World

Job Cuts


BASF SE plans to cut about 400 jobs at its construction chemicals business as it adjusts to a slump in building in parts of Europe. The company plans to offer the affected employees jobs elsewhere in the company wherever possible. It will immediately begin discussions with employee representatives. The construction chemicals division makes products that include cement additives and sealants.

Investment


Sanmar TCI intends to invest an additional $200 million in the industrial area of Port Said, Egypt. The company has already started the new extension of a piece of land and the establishment of the necessary machinery.

Acquisition


Reliance Industries has agreed to acquired BP’s petrochemical plant in Malaysia for $230 million in an all-cash deal. Reliance will purchase all of BP’s interests in a purified terepthalic acid (PTA) production plant via its subsidiary Reliance Global Holdings. The agreement covers BP’s 100% equity in BP Chemicals (Malaysia). The plant is located on the east coast of Malaysia. The transaction is expected to be completed this year.






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