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Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 26 Oct.
1:16 PM MDT | October 26, 2012 | By LINDSAY FROST
This week in CW:
More companies report earnings for the third quarter—and economic uncertainty mixed with raw material costs and other challenges are causing drops in earnings and sales. In America, top producers Dow Chemical and DuPont announced job cuts after drops in earnings, while in Europe—BASF’s net income fell, LyondellBasell’s sales and earnings fell and Wacker reported significant declines in sales and earnings, while Air Liquide reported higher sales for the quarter. In Asia, SK Global Chemical reported a drop in sales and Shin-Etsu had a rise in profits.
An ExxonMobil Chemical executive, head of marketing for interim technologies, was killed in Brussels after being shot in the street as he left a restaurant with his wife on 14 October. The investigation is still underway.
Evonik announced the construction of 3 new plants in South America—a €200 million investment. The plants will produce cosmetics ingredients, feed amino acids and biodiesel catalysts. A consumer good plant will be built at Americana, Brazil and will go on stream in 2014, and a Biolys L-lysine plant at Castro, Brazil will go on stream in 2013.
DSM announced it is acquiring Cargill’s cultures and enzymes business, which produces cultures and enzymes for the dairy and meat industries, for €85 million. The deal is expected to close in the next two months, and DSM will acquire its manufacturing operations in Wisconsin and France.
BP has cancelled plans to build a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Florida as it is refocusing on technology and R&D for its biofuels program. The plan was originally announced in 2008.
Around the Web:
Reuters blogger James Saft says 60% of S&P 500 companies missed their sales targets for the quarter, but analysts are forecasting fourth-quarter earnings to grow 9%, and a growth of 12% for next year. A large majority of companies in the index have guided earnings and sales targets downwards for the coming quarter.
Danish researched have discovered, as published in the Epoch Times, bacteria living on the ocean floor producing electric currents to break down matter. The bacteria are only 1 centimeter long and 100 times thinner than a human hair, and inside each contain a bundle of insulated wires that conduct a current.
NewScientist magazine says a new battery technology could provide cheap, long-lived power storage that can quickly pump electricity into the grid to compensate for fluctuating renewables, such as wind and solar.
The New York Times says the US economy grew at an annual rate of 2% in the third quarter, which was slightly better than expected, due to a healthier housing sector and an increase in defense spending. However, economists say growth could slow in the fourth quarter if export weakness persists and businesses remain cautious.