IHS Chemical Week


The Top Ten Stories of 2011

4:21 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.

Here are the ten most-read stories on chemweek.com from January to December of 2011:

Dow to Build U.S. Ethylene, Propylene Plants

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.

2. Ecolab to Acquire Nalco for $8.1 Billion

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.

3. Ashland to Buy International Specialty Products for $3.2 Billion

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.

4. Berkshire Hathaway to Acquire Lubrizol for $9.7 Billion

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.

5. Dow and Aramco Form Sadara Chemical JV; Investment to Reach $20 Billion

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.

6. Sasol Plans Ethane Cracker in Louisiana

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.

7. Solvay to Acquire Rhodia for €3.4 Billion

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.

8. DuPont Wins $920 Million in Kevlar Trade Secrets Case

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.

9. Cargill to Divest Majority Stake in Mosaic in $24.3 Billion Deal

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.

10. Chevron Phillips Chemical Studying U.S. Gulf Coast Ethane Cracker

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.

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