The Top Ten Stories of 2011
4:42 PM MST | January 5, 2012 | By VINCENT VALK
Big projects and M&A deals dominated the most read stories on chemweek.com during 2011. The first half saw a renaissance in M&A activity, with multl-billion deals such as Ecolab's acquisition of Nalco and Berkshire Hathaway's deal for Lubrizol dominating the headlines. Meanwhile, on the U.S. Gulf Coast, chemical majors started planning new construction for the first time in years, as low-cost natural gas bestowed its benefits on the North American industry.
Date: April 22, 2011
Dow Chemical announced plans to build world-scale ethylene and propylene plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast, taking advantage of low feedstock costs. The company has signed a long-term agreement to supply natural gas liquids to the site.
Date: July 20, 2011
Ecolab agreed to acquire water treatment chemicals company Nalco in an equity and cash funded deal in July. The transaction, which closed in December, created a company 38,000 employees and $11 billion annualized sales.
Date: June 1, 2011
In yet another of the first half’s big M&A transactions, Ashland increased its presence in high-growth specialty chemicals markets such as personal care and pharmaceutical ingredients. The deal means that 70% of Ashland’ revenue is now derived from specialty chemicals.
Date: March 14, 2011
The biggest M&A deal of the year saw Warren Buffet’s investment firm take Lubrizol private for $135/share. Lubrizol is Berkshire’s biggest-yet investment in the chemical industry.
Date: July 26, 2011
Dow Chemical and Saudi Aramco confirmed a report that first appeared in CW that the two are going ahead with a joint venture at Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The jv is expected to have a capacity of over 3 million m.t./year, producing a variety of chemical products.
Date: December 1, 2011
Reflecting North America’s newfound feedstock advantage, Sasol announced plans to invest about $4 billion in a world-scale ethane cracker in Louisiana. The facility will have a capacity of 1 million-1.4 million m.t./year of ethylene.
Date: April 4, 2011
Solvay launched a friendly cash offer of €31.60/share for Rhodia, in a deal that was approved by EU authorities in August. The merged company has combined sales of €12 billion/year.
Date: September 15, 2011
DuPont won a huge victory in a case against South Korean firm Kolon Industries, claiming that the latter systematically stole trade secrets and confidential information related to Kevlar aramid fiber. The award is one of the largest in history for trade secret theft.
Date: January 19, 2011
Cargill, which had previously owned about 64% of Mosaic, sold its stake in the company in a deal designed to allow a tax-free spin-off of Mosaic. Cargill exchanged most of its Mosaic shares with Cargill shareholders for Cargill stock, and exchanged the rest with Cargill debt-holders.
Date: March 28, 2011
Another big petrochemicals project in the U.S. – Chevron Phillips Chemical is studying a world-scale ethane cracker and ethylene derivatives plant at one of its Gulf Coast sites.