27 April 1998 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]DuPont Nylon to Lay Off 500
To reduce management and overhead costs by $50 million annually, DuPont Nylon will eliminate 500 positions worldwide by the end of the summer in its carpet fibers, apparel fibers, industrial fibers and nylon intermediates businesses.
Some employees may be transferred to other units with DuPont, others will retire, and still others will be subject to involuntary layoffs. The roughly 325 US employees affected by the restructure will be offered a transition package.
In Europe, about 125 will be removed from DuPont Nylon, the rest of the headcount will be lost in Asia and South America. DuPont says its engineering polymer business is not included in the downsizing. The company adds that it is not closing any Nylon facilities other than the Martinsville, Va., plant, which DuPont has already announced it will take off stream by mid-year.
Daikin Doubles FEP Capacity
Responding to strong demand, Daikin America Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Daikin Industries of Osaka, Japan, is expanding its fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) facilities in Decatur, Ala. The project consists of incremental investments in the existing facility and a new plant that will use new technology developed by Daikin.
The expansion has been underway for several months. Daikin expects to complete it in less than three years, eventually more than doubling the site's current capacity. Additional FEP will become available in multiple stages starting now. The Decatur facility will also produce perfluoralkoxy and ethylene tetra fluoroethylene copolymer. The company also plans to expand its FEP capacity in Japan.
Witco Upgrades GlycerineWitco Corporation has started construction at its Mapleton, Ill., facility on a new glycerine unit that will upgrade crude glycerine into refined material. The unit will complement a recent multi-million dollar expansion at the facility, which includes distillation capacity for high-quality fatty acids.
Air Products Ups Liquefication
Air Products & Chemicals Inc. plans to engineer and install the world's largest helium liquefier at its Liberal, Kan., purification and liquefaction facility. The project will further expand the company's ability to meet the growing needs of its global customers in a range of industries. The expansion will boost Air Product's available worldwide helium capacity to more than 2 billion standard cubic feet per year. The new unit is scheduled to come on in 1999.
The unit will purify and liquefy crude helium obtained from an adjacent natural gas processing plant owned by National Helium Corporation, a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corporation, and from a connecting pipeline owned and operated by the US Bureau of Land Management.
Aquila Acquires VacTex
Aquila Biopharmaceuticals has bought the stock of VacTex Inc., a privately held company developing a novel vaccine technology based on a recently discovered way of modulating the immune system. VacTex's technology complements Aquila's Stimulon adjuvant technology, enabling the company to develop an expanded range of products and provide an early development program for products to prevent and treat tuberculosis.
Cambrex Builds New B3 Plant
Cambrex Corporation will begin construction of a new niacinamide (vitamin B3) plant at its Nepera Inc. subsidiary in Harriman, N.Y., scheduled to be on line by mid 1999. At the same time, Nepera will also upgrade its distillation facilities to produce a higher purity cyanopyridine feedstock for the plant. Nepera is a producer of pyridine.
The new facility will produce USP grade products for pharmaceutical, over-the-counter vitamins, food and nutritional product applications, as well as feed grade vitamin B3 for animal health and nutrition markets.
VacTex was founded in 1996 to develop discoveries by Drs. Michael Brenner and Steven Porcelli that the body's defense system can be activated by lipid antigens presented to the immune system by CD1 proteins. VacTex has exclusive rights to the technology discovered by Drs. Brenner and Porcelli, who will join Aquila's board.
Aquila will acquire all outstanding shares of VacTex in a tax-free exchange of 1.15 million shares of newly issued Aquila common stock and a note, redeemable after April 13, 1999, for cash of $1.3 million and interest accrued at 7 percent. Aquila will record a charge for the acquisition of nearly $8.2 million in the second quarter of 1998.
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