30 April 2001 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Albemarle Buys Martinswerk
Albemarle Corporation has agreed to acquire Bergheim, Germany-based specialty chemicals company Martinswerk GmbH for around $44 million. The deal is expected to close on May 31.
Martinswerk had 2000 sales of around $100 million in three businesses. The bulk came from mineral-based flame retardants for the plastics and rubber markets. The company also produces brightening pigments for high-quality paper applications and specialty aluminum oxides for polishing, catalyst and niche ceramic applications.
"Martinswerk's halogen-free flame retardant business would be an excellent complement to Albemarle's growing flame retardant portfolio and would strengthen our global focus on fire safety systems," says Albemarle CEO Floyd D. Gottwald.Air Products Boosts WF6
Air Products and Chemicals Inc. has begun construction of a second tungsten hexafluoride (WF6) plant at its Hometown, Pa., manufacturing complex. The company plans to double its WF6 capacity to 600,000 pounds per year, saying that the investment in a second WF6 plant is to ensure supplies for contracted semiconductor manufacturing customers.
By early 2002, Air Products plans to bring on stream 100,000 pounds per year of capacity, with the remaining capacity coming on line as the market demands. The new plant will be an "exact duplicate of the original," the company says. The original plant was expanded to 300,000 pounds per year in late 1999. No financial details of the expansion were released. In 2000, 63 percent of Air Products' $5.5 billion in revenues were provided by gases, and specialty gases for electronic applications accounted for nearly 18 percent of its total gas segment sales (about $623.7 million).Akzo to Buy Covance
Akzo Nobel's Diosynth pharma business will acquire Covance Biotechnology Services Inc. (CBSI) for á210 million ($190 million). CBSI's estimated sales volume for 2001 is $110 million. (related story, page 8).
The acquisition provides Diosynth with access to CBSI's professional development group and its commercial network in the US biotech market, which will increase Diosynth's market strength alongside Organon and Intervet, both technology platforms of Akzo Nobel Pharma.
Diosynth has just opened a downstream processing facility, and its new cell culture and fermentation plant will be on stream by the end of 2002. Closing of the transaction is subject to certain conditions, including governmental approvals.Solutia Settles PCB Suit
Solutia Inc. has agreed to pay $40 million to settle a suit brought by 1,600 plaintiffs in the Owens vs. Monsanto case stemming from their alleged exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) produced at Monsanto's Anniston, Ala., manufacturing site.
Solutia continues to dispute health claims made by the plaintiffs but settled the case to focus attention on remediation efforts. The chemical contamination allegedly was spread by Monsanto, which manufactured PCBs in Anniston until 1972. The PCBs entered the creek in Anniston through waste water emptied from the plant into a local drainage ditch. Solutia inherited the lawsuit when it was spun off from Monsanto in 1997.BOC Buys Hydrogen Plants
BOC plans to assume full ownership of two South American hydrogen projects from Foster Wheeler Power Systems Inc. The efficiently operating projects in Chile and Venezuela provide some 60 million cubic feet per day of hydrogen to two oil refineries.
BOC and Foster Wheeler's original investments in the projects totaled about $70 million. BOC says the transaction will expand its global position in the "high-growth hydrogen industry," while Foster Wheeler says the deal suits its strategy to divest generating assets to reduce long-term debt and to focus on core businesses.
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