Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 2 Nov.
3:36 PM MDT | November 2, 2012 | By LINDSAY FROST
This Week in CW:
Top producers report more losses in this week’s earnings roundup as companies continue to report their third quarter results. In the US, ExxonMobil Chemical’s earnings fell due to mostly lower margins as well as foreign exchange effects. Huntsman bounced back from a loss in the previous quarter—reporting a rise in earnings due to strong polyurethane results offsetting weak titanium dioxide (TiO2). Both Ashland and Ferro reported losses, while FMC’s net income rose. In Europe, Clariant reported a slight rise in sales while profits fell, and Bayer reported higher sales—especially in its CropScience and HealthCare businesses.
CF Industries announced a major investment this week to build new ammonia, urea and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) facilities at its Donaldsonville, LA complex—as well as new ammonia and uear units at its Port Neal, IA complex. Both the projects will be able to produce a combined 1.9 million m.t./year of ammonia, 1.82-2.4 million m.t./year of granular urea. The total investment is $3.8 billion.
After an unannounced bid by PotashCorp., the Israeli government says it does not approve plans PotashCorp presented to acquire Israel Chemicals (ICL). PotashCorp currently holds a 13.85% stake in ICL, and a deal to become the complete owner could cost PotashCorp $14-16 billion, analysts say. PotashCorp acknowledged the negotiations earlier this week.
Lonza says it is cutting 400 jobs at its Visp, Switzerland site within 2 years. They are also planning to restructure other areas of the business for costcutting, which would result in another 100 positions cut worldwide over the next 2 years. This site is the largest in the company, however profitability has been unsatisfactory, the company says.
Around the Web:
According to Stanford news, Stanford University scientists have built the first solar cell made entirely of carbon, which they say is a cheaper and more efficient alternative to other materials more commonly used in photovoltaic devices today. The thin film prototype is made of carbon materials that can be coated from the solution.
Time magazine notes that the final jobs report before the election 2012 was released 2 November, and according to the Labor Department, 171,000 jobs were added in October, with large businesses and the unemployment rate ticked up one tenth of 1 percent to 7.9%.
Harvard Medical School (HMS) says a research team from HMS and Bringham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has invented a new quick-release medical tape that has the strong adhesion properties of commercial medical tape, but without painful skin-tearing or scratching upon removal.
According to the AlphaGalileo Foundation news, researchers at the University of Leicester’s (Leicester, UK) department of biology have discovered the potential to manipulate the functions of chloroplasts in plants. The team says chloroplasts are affected by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS)—a process which causes the breakdown of unwanted proteins in cells, which was previously thought to only act on central parts of the cell. Because of this finding, the researchers believe they may be able to use specific proteins to regulate chloroplast functions.