IHS Chemical Week


Chemical industry weekly news roundup—12 April

1:52 PM MDT | April 12, 2013 | By LINDSAY FROST

This week in CW:

Ecolab announced Wednesday that it has officially closed on its $2.3-billion acquisition of Champion Technologies, an oil field chemicals firm, after it agreed to sell a Champion deepwater product line that serves the Gulf of Mexico to Clariant. Ecolab announced the acquisition in October 2012. Champion had 2012 revenues of $1.3 billion and has 3,200 employees in more than 30 countries.

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC) and Mitsubishi Corp. announced this week that they are in the final stages of an agreement with the government of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as local partner Neal & Massy Holdings (Port of Spain), to start developing a previously reported project for the commercialization of natural gas-based petrochemicals. The first phase will involve an $850 million investment to produce 1 million m.t./year of methanol and 100,000 m.t./year of dimethyl ether, the companies say. The partners aim to reach a final investment decision on the project during the current fiscal year, with commercial operations scheduled to start in the fiscal year ending March 2017.

Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto say they have singed royalty-bearing agreements to cross-license corn trait technology for weed and insect management. The agreement paves the way for introduction—pending regulatory approvals—of next-generation products that build off the current SmartStax platform, which includes Dow's Herculex and Monsanto's insect-resistance and herbicide-tolerance traits. Monsanto will license Dow’s Enlist herbicide-tolerant trait for use in field corn, while Dow will license third-generation corn rootworm technology—Corn Rootworm III—still under development by Monsanto.  

A. Schulman reported its fiscal second quarter earnings on Tuesday, with net income at $11.8 million, up 29% year-on-year (YOY). Sales increased 5%, to $522.4 million. A tax allowance and an acquisition drove the increases in earnings and sales. Adjusted earnings fell 29%, to 27 cts/share—well short of analysts’ estimates of 40 cts/share, as reported by Thomson Reuters (New York). The company’s fiscal second quarter ended on 28 February.

Around the Web:

Jobless claims in the United States dropped 42,000, to 346,000, according to a recent article in Market Watch—a part of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). This is the smallest number of applications in three weeks and puts claims back near the same levels that have prevailed for most of 2013, WSJ says. New applications for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week after a spike the week before—largely reflecting seasonal quirks around Easter and spring break and signaling little change in the trajectory of a slowly mending labor market, the article says.

The world’s first algae-powered apartment building has been constructed in Hamburg for around €5 million ($6.5 million) all funded by Internationale Bauausstellung as part of the ongoing International Building Exhibition—2013, according to Phys.org. The Bio Intelligent Quotient House is a 15-unit apartment building that has 129 algae-filled louvered tanks hanging over the exterior of the southeast and southwest sides of the building—so it is powered exclusively by algae. To make use of the algae, it was put into large, thin rectangular clear cases, according to the article. Inside, the algae live in a water solution and are provided nutrients and carbon dioxide by an automated system. Each tank was then affixed to the outside walls of the building onto scaffolding that allows for turning the tanks towards the sun—similar to technology used for solar collectors.

An article in SmartPlanet, a CBS online publication, says economists have been questioning the accuracy of the US GDP due to its tendency to be based on industrial measures—missing the increasingly expanding mass of digital activity. Former IBM v.p. Irving Wladawsky-Berger says GDP does not adequately capture the growing share of services and the production of increasingly complex solutions that characterize advanced economies. Nor does it reflect important economic activity beyond production, such as income, consumption, and living standards as well as failing to capture “the explosive amount of free information goods available over the Internet, including Wikipedia articles, Google maps, Linux open source software, and YouTube videos,” Wladawsky-Berger says.

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