In Tuesday's US papers

20 December 2005 14:16  [Source: ICIS news]

A summary of political, economic, trade, business and product news affecting the chemical and related industries.


International Economics and Politics

US House approves military/ANWR bill, deficit cuts

The US House of Representatives narrowly approved a $39.7bn (Euro33bn) five-year deficit-reduction package and it approved the $453bn defense appropriations bill which carried with it a provision to move ahead with contentious oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). US Senate Democrats threatened to derail the defense bill unless the ANWR provision is removed.

Under another provision of the House bill, pharmaceuticals makers are promised special liability protections in hopes of resurrecting the industry's domestic capacity to produce needed vaccines.

The Wall Street Journal, page A2

The Washington Post, page A01, A14

The New York Times (online print edition)

Globe and Mail, page A21


Investors think US execs are overpaid

Institutional investors are largely unhappy with the way US executives are compensated, with 90% agreeing that executives are "dramatically overpaid."

The Wall Street Journal, page B9


Mexico's Fox condemns US House immigration bill

Mexican President Vicente Fox spent the weekend publicly condemning the tough immigration bill passed last Friday by the US House of Representatives. Fox repeatedly described it as a "shameful" setback in bilateral relations and as a troubling reflection of America's willingness to tolerate "xenophobic groups that impose the law at will."

The New York Times (online print edition)


China, East Asia have strong growth prospects in 2006

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is more upbeat about 2005 and 2006 economic growth in China and in emerging East Asia as a whole as a result of a turnaround in global high-technology demand and a recovery in Japan's domestic demand. China is expected to grow 9.3% this year and 8.9% in 2006. Meanwhile, emerging East Asian countries, excluding China, will grow 4.6% and 5.3% in 2006, ADB said.

The Wall Street Journal, page A12


China ups 2004 growth data

China's GDP was 16.8% larger in 2004 than previously known, Beijing said on Monday as it revised last year's data to better reflect consumer activity, as opposed to manufacturing activity. China, therefore, ranked as the sixth largest global economy last year instead of seventh, moving ahead of Italy but holding behind France.

The Wall Street Journal, page A12

The Washington Post, page D12

The New York Times (online print edition)


Bolivia to clash with investors as Morales wins election

Evo Morales's outright victory in Sunday's presidential election will give him more muscle to push the nationalisation of the country's natural gas industry and unfettered coca cultivation, issues likely to cause confrontations with foreign investors and foreign governments. Nationalisation of the gas industry was Morales's top campaign demand.

The Wall Street Journal, page A13

The Washington Post, page A01

The New York Times (online print edition)

Globe and Mail, page A22, A24

Toronto Star, page A4




Developing world farmers achieve some gains in WTO talks

Developing world farmers, especially African cotton growers, were the biggest winners in the Hong Kong global trade talks. Their gains - still tentative and to be phased in gradually - would come at the expense of their American and European competitors. Multinational firms ended up with hope that their wish for lower barriers around the world will get attention early next year, as trade negotiators have set an 30 April deadline for new talks.

The Wall Street Journal, page A4

Toronto Star, page A22



Chemicals, Petrochemicals, Plastics

Tyco to sell plastics unit to Apollo

Private equity firm Apollo Advisors is near a deal to purchase the plastics-and-adhesives unit of Tyco for roughly $1bn.

The Wall Street Journal, page B4


Dow elects Liveris chairman

Dow Chemical, the commodity chemicals company has elected Andrew Liveris chairman. Liveris, 51, will continue in his roles as president and chief executive. He succeeds William Stavropoulos, 66, who is retiring.

The Wall Street Journal, page B11


RAG to buy rest of Degussa

RAG offered to pay Euro42/share to buy out Degussa shareholders and it will pay utility firm E.ON Euro2.8bn for its 43% stake in Degussa.

The New York Times (online print edition)

Globe and Mail, page B13



Energy, Oil & Gas

Alaska hits BP, Exxon with natgas antitrust suit

An Alaska state authority charged that BP and ExxonMobil are conspiring to withhold natural gas from US markets and reinforce their market power over North Slope supplies. In an antitrust suit filed late on Monday in a federal court in Fairbanks, the Alaska Gasline Port Authority alleged that a series of illegal agreements and acquisitions by the companies has choked the flow of the state's vast gas reserves.

The port authority, created in 1999 to build a gas pipeline, says it has $18bn in federal guarantees and the permits to build a pipeline from the North Slope to Valdez in the southern part of the state, where gas would be liquefied and loaded onto tankers. But BP and Exxon favour an alternative, longer pipeline through Canada, a pipeline over which they would have more control, the authority charges.

The Wall Street Journal, page A3

The Washington Post, page D02

Globe and Mail, page B11


Exxon fights Venezuela's oil contract overhaul

ExxonMobil is the only major oil company resisting Venezuela's nationalist policies in a standoff that could hurt the company's future investments in the country, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez warned on Monday. Government-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) insists that 32 privately run oil fields agree to become PdVSA-dominated joint ventures. Exxon and Repsol YPF SA of Spain disagree over the 15,000 bbl/day Quiamare La Ceiba oil field they operate together. Repsol would like to continue operating the field as a joint venture, while Exxon rejects the new terms.

Exxon stands to lose more than its 25% stake in the oil field. The company has a 41.7% stake in the 120,000 bbl/day Cerro Negro heavy crude upgrading project, and has expressed interest in a $3bn petrochemicals joint venture with PdVSA.

The Wall Street Journal, page A12


FPL bags Constellation in $11bn deal

FPL Group announced its $11bn acquisition of Constellation Energy on Monday, one of the largest such transactions in the history of the American electricity industry, with a focus on using two decidedly retro energy sources, coal and nuclear power, to make the deal work.

The Washington Post, page D04

The New York Times (online print edition)

Globe and Mail, page B13

Toronto Star, page C4


Evan's declines Rosneft job offer

Donald Evans, the former commerce secretary and longtime close friend of President Bush, declined Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer of a top job at Russia's state oil company, OAO Rosneft.

The Wall Street Journal, page B11

The Washington Post, page A04

The New York Times (online print edition)




Ford calls for broad CO2 discussions

Ford, in a move urged by environmental groups, will embrace the concept of stabilising global carbon dioxide (CO2), in what appears to be a first for a major auto maker. But Ford won't commit to achieving a specific target for higher fuel economy in its vehicles. Instead, the automaker will call for a "broader discussion" about how to reduce CO2 emissions across the economy.

The Wall Street Journal, page B6




India's Ranbaxy vows to attack patents, despite Pfizer loss

Indian drug giant Ranbaxy Laboratories says it will not back down from its patents-busting strategy, despite its loss to Pfizer on Friday in a US federal court. The court blocked Ranbaxy's challenge to Pfizer's cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, the world's best-selling drug.

The New York Times (online print edition)

Globe and Mail, page B12



Company News & Results

US fines ABN Amro $80m over Libya, Iran dealings

US federal authorities fined Dutch bank ABN Amro Holding NV $80m, one of the largest banking fines in US history, for violating US money laundering laws and sanctions against Iran and Libya.

The Wall Street Journal, page A3

The Washington Post, page D01

The New York Times (online print edition)

Globe and Mail, page B8


Dow Corning elects Burns chairwoman

Stephanie Burns has been elected chairman of silicon based technology company Dow Corning, which is equally owned by Dow Chemical and Corning. The appointment is effective 1 January. She succeeds Gary Anderson, 59, who is retiring. Burns, 50, will continue to serve as president and chief executive, a post she assumed after Anderson retired from active service in July 2004.

The Wall Street Journal, page B11


(Some of the above stories may not appear in all editions of the relevant newspapers.)

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