Business Digest

C&I Issue 8, 2007

German pharma concern Boehringer Ingelheim reported an 11% sales increase, 12% excluding currency effects, in 2006 to €10.6bn, compared with €9.5bn in 2005. Operating income, comparable to earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), also rose 11% to over €2.1bn. R&D investment was up 16% at almost €1.6bn.

Swiss healthcare group Roche has expanded its immunochemistry diagnostics business through the acquisition of US healthcare and biosecurity company BioVeris (Gaithersburg, Maryland, US) for approximately $600m. Roche has also acquired the privately-owned antibody research concern Therapeutic Human Polyclonals for $56.5m and plans to integrate its operations in California and Germany into the Roche Pharma Center of Excellence for Protein Research in Panzberg, Germany.

US pharma company Eli Lilly has completed the $315m acquisition of the privately-held neuroscience drug discovery company Hypnion (Lexington, Massachusetts, US), which specialises in sleep disorders.

Finnish chemicals group Kemira has formed OOO Kemira HIM in St Petersburg to handle its Russian pulp and paper chemicals business. The new company will take over the sales and marketing connections of Kemira’s joint venture ZAO Kemira-Novo, which will continue to manufacture paper sizing chemicals.

German industrial gases and engineering company Linde has acquired the Turkish industrial gases company Birlesic Oksijen Sanayi (BOS), a subsidiary of the Koc group, for €92m. BOS had 2006 sales of €30m. Linde has also sold its US packaged gases business with retail stores to US gases firm Airgas for $310m. The business had 2006 sales of $346m.

US chemical groups Dow Chemical and Chevron Phillips Chemical are to form a 50:50 joint venture involving their polystyrene and styrene monomers businesses in the Americas with completion in H2 2007, subject to regulatory approval. The venture will include Dow’s styrene monomer plant in Camaçari, Brazil, and six polystyrene plants in California, Connecticut, Ohio, Illinois, California, Catagena (Colombia) and Guaruja (Brazil), while Chevron Phillips will contribute a styrene monomer plant in Louisiana, and a polystyrene plant in Ohio.

Dutch chemicals producer Akzo Nobel is selling its European-based methylamines and choline chloride businesses, located in Marano Ticino, Italy, to US-based Balchem (New York) through its European subsidiary. The deal is said to complete Akzo’s chemicals divestment programme.

Projects & Technology
Belgian chemical concern Solvay has introduced its ‘green chemistry’ production process for epichlorohydrin in a 10 000 t/year plant in Tavaux, France. The plant uses glycerol, the main by-product from biodiesel production derived from rapeseed oil, as its feedstock. Solvay is planning a further 100 000 t/year plant scheduled to come onstream at its integrated site in Map Ta Phut, Thailand, in mid-2009.

Solvin, the 75:25 joint PVC venture between Solvay and its German partner BASF, is planning a second 10 000 t/year polyvinylidene chloride latex plant in Asia, possibly at Solvay’s Mab Ta Phut site in Thailand. A final decision on the facility is expected in Q3 2007.

London-headquartered specialist producer of de-icing solutions, Zirax has licensed US concern Cargill’s SafeLane surface overlay system for Russia and the ten other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). SafeLane is a combination of epoxy and aggregate that acts like a rigid sponge storing de-icing chemicals, which are released in low temperature conditions.

German specialty chemicals concern Degussa has received formal approval from the Chinese National Development & Reform Commission for its planned €250m integrated methyl methacrylate and methacrylic production scheduled to come onstream in Shanghai Chemical Industry Park Development in 2009.

US manufacturer of specialty R&D chemicals Strem Chemicals has signed a worldwide marketing agreement for the catalyst and BINAP ligand technologies developed by Japanese fine chemicals producer Takasago.

Japanese ink manufacturer Toyo Ink is investing €10m on the introduction of new technology developed in its Japanese laboratories at its Francolor sites in Oissel and Villers Saint Paul, France. The company says there is likely to be a reduction in the total headcount from 190 to just over 100 staff.

BASF is expanding its capacity for Neopor insulation foam at Ludwigshafen from 60 000 to 190 000 t/year partly by converting existing Styropur production. The first phase will add 100 000 t/year by the start of 2008. An additional 90 000 t/year plant will also be built to come on stream by the end of 2008. Ulsan, South Korea, is likely to be the location for a second Neopur production site.

Chevron Phillips Chemical is building a polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) plant to double capacity at its Borger, Texas site from to 10 000 to 20 000 t/year. PPS, marketed as Ryton, is used as an engineering plastic for the production of injection moulded and extruded components for computers, automobile parts and electrical appliances.

Poliolefinas Internacionales (Polinter), an affiliate of Petroquimica de Venzuela (Pequiven), has selected Basell’s Lupotech T technology for a 300 000 t/year low density polyethylene plant to be built in Maracaibo, Venezuela for start-up in 2011.

US chemical companies DuPont and Honeywell have signed a global joint development agreement to accelerate the development and commercialisation of next generation, low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants to replace hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-134a and thereby meet European regulations taking effect in 2011 covering automotive air conditioning applications.

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