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Chexpress - January 13, 2011

North America

$6.3 Billion Purchase

DuPont has signed a definitive agreement to buy Danisco for $6.3 billion, including the assumption of $500 million in debt. The deal will enhance DuPont’s industrial biotechnology efforts and take it into new food and energy businesses. The companies expect to close the deal in April or May, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.

New Plant

Myriant Technologies will build the world’s largest bio-based succinic acid plant in Lake Providence, Louisiana. The $80 million plant will use sorghum as a feedstock to produce up to 15,000 tons of succinic acid/year. The plant will begin operations in 2012 and employ 49 workers. It will be the first plant to make bio-based succinic acid on a commercial scale.

Unit Sale

Orkla ASA will sell almost all of its Elkem unit to China National BlueStar Corp. for nearly $2 billion. The deal, which also covers a major power contract that Orkla bought last year, includes Elkem Silicon Materials, Elkem Foundry Products, Elkem Carbon and Elkem Solar. Orkla will continue to own Elkem Energi AS. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the first half of this year.


Exco Resources Inc. has purchased certain oil and gas assets in the Marcellus shale from Chief Oil & Gas LLC for about $459.4 million. The deal is expected to close next month.

Joint Venture

Air Products and Linde Gas North America have formed Hydrochlor, a 50-50 joint venture to supply high-purity anhydrous hydrochloric acid (HCl) to the electronics and other industries. As part of the agreement, Hydrochlor will build a facility to process and package HCl supplied via pipeline from The Dow Chemical Company. The new facility will be located on Dow’s Freeport, Texas site. Oversight for the joint venture will be governed by a team of managers from each partner company. The facility is scheduled to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2012.

New Plant

Samsung Engineering has signed a contract for a $411 million chlor-alkali plant with Dow-Mitsui Chlor-Alkali LLC, a joint-venture of Dow Chemical and Mitsui. The plant will be located in Freeport, Texas. It is expected to produce 816,000 tons of chlorine/year.


Ashland Inc.’s subsidiary, Hercules Incorporated, has signed a definitive agreement to sell its pentaerythritol (PE) business to Perstorp Polyols Inc., a subsidiary of Perstorp Holding AB. The proposed transaction includes transfer of the pentaerythritol business, related technology and a minor amount of equipment. It does not include the manufacturing plant in Louisiana, Missouri, any real estate or employees. The transaction is expected to close within 60 days and is subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.


Additional Capacity

In 2007, Arkema announced the construction of a Kynar PVDF fluorinated polymer production plant at its site in Changshu, China. At the time of the announcement, the plant was scheduled to come on stream in March 2011. Arkema has now decided to speed up the development of this plant and has announced a 50% production increase effective mid-2012. The additional production capacity will help meet requirements for PVDF resins from new emerging applications in Asia.

Contract Awarded

Saudi International Petrochemical Co. (Sipchem) has awarded the engineering, design and construction (LSTK) contract for its ethyl acetate plant to eTEC Engineering & Construction Company. The plant will produce ethyl acetate (EA) and butyl acetate (BA) with an annual production capacity of 100,000 metric tons in its industrial complex in Jubail Industrial City. The plant is expected to start production during the second quarter of 2013.

Chemical Leak

A chemical leak at the Wanbei Pharmaceutical Co. in Suzhou, China has sickened 62 workers. The cause of the leak is under investigation. The leaked chemical was phosgene, which is commonly used to produce pesticides, painkillers and antibiotics.


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