IHS Chemical Week


Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 16 August

1:17 PM MDT | August 16, 2013 | By LINDSAY FROST

This Week in CW:

Earnings season has wrapped up with just a few more companies left reporting this week. Valspar reported net income of $93.8 million for the quarter ended 26 July, up 8.6% from the year-ago quarter. Reported adjusted earnings were $1.07/share, up 10.3% year-on-year (YOY). Potash producer K+S (Kassel, Germany) reported a 29.4% drop in adjusted group earnings after taxes during the second quarter, to €105.9 million, compared with €150.1 million in the same period last year. Haldor Topsøe (Copenhagen) reported a 36% rise in net profit for the first six months of this year, to 311 million Danish kroner ($55.4 million), and a 14% increase in revenues, to DK2.84 billion, citing growing demand for its catalysts and related process technologies across the globe.

Trian Fund Management, led by activist investor CEO Nelson Peltz, has acquired a 2.3% stake in DuPont and has met with company management to outline possible strategic changes, according to a person familiar with the matter. Trian currently holds more 21 than million DuPont shares, according to the person. Sources say Trian has met with DuPont chair and CEO Ellen Kullman, as well as other senior management, and has presented the company with a white paper containing strategic changes to increase shareholder value.

Quinpario Acquisition (St. Louis, MO), a special purpose acquisition company formed by former Solutia executives to fund specialty chemical buyouts, has completed a $172.5-million initial public offering (IPO). The firm has up to 24 months to complete its initial acquisition or it must return funds to investors. C&Co/PrinceRidge (New York) was book running manager in the offering. Cantor Fitzgerald (New York) and Drexel Hamilton (New York) acted as co-managers. Units are trading on Nasdaq under the symbol “QPACU.”

Around the Web:

Stocks in China made a “mysterious” 6% spike on Friday, CNN says, and the sudden move left analysts searching for answers. Answers weren't forthcoming from the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and the operator posted a statement, but only to say that its systems were functioning normally and that trades would be settled as usual. According to one theory, the sudden spike was related to a problem at a brokerage called Everbright Securities, which filed a statement to the exchange on Friday.

According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, increased stray gas abundance has been discovered in a subset of drinking water wells near the Marcellus shale gas region. Methane was detected in 82% of drinking water samples, with average concentrations six times higher for homes over 1 kilometer (km) from natural gas wells. Ethane was 23 times higher in homes over 1 km from gas wells; propane was detected in 10 water wells, all within approximately 1 km distance. Of three factors previously proposed to influence gas concentrations in shallow groundwater (distances to gas wells, valley bottoms, and the Appalachian Structural Front, a proxy for tectonic deformation), distance to gas wells was highly significant for methane concentrations, whereas distances to valley bottoms and the Appalachian Structural Front were not significant.

According to the Wall Street Journal, More employers are requiring their new workers to sign "noncompete" agreements, which they say are needed to prevent insiders from taking trade secrets, business relationships or customer data to competing firms when they leave. But with a more than 60% rise over the past decade in the number of departing employees who are getting sued by their former bosses for breaching the agreements, some worry these clauses are having an unintended damping effect on US entrepreneurship, by preventing people from leaving the corporate world to launch their own businesses, or hire workers when they do.

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