Emerald completes benzoic expansion - C&EN Global Enterprise


Emerald Kalama Chemical has completed a $40 million benzoic acid and benzaldehyde expansion in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The company says the expans...
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Business Concentrates MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

▸ Big M&G project is struggling Mossi and Ghisolfi’s (M&G) big surface polyethylene terephthalate (PET) project in Corpus Christi, Texas, is in trouble. Contractor Fluor Enterprises has given notice to the State of Texas that it is laying off 274 workers who are building the plant. This follows comments from rival Alpek, which has a contract to buy 500,000 metric tons of PET per year from the facility once it is completed. Alpek doubts M&G can complete the plant. Also, the Mexican company is cutting off supplies of the raw material purified terephthalic acid to M&G at other locations because of nearly $50 million in unpaid bills. Earlier this year, contractors working on the Corpus Christi unit filed liens in Nueces County, Texas, against M&G for nonpayment.—ALEX TULLO

POLYMERS

▸ Arkema expanding fluoropolymers Arkema is expanding its polyvinylidene fluoride plant in Calvert City, Ky., by 20%. The polymers are used in solar panels,

PVDF is used in solar panels. water filtration, chemical processing equipment, and high-performance cables. The company completed an expansion in Changshu, China, earlier this year. It expects to finish the U.S. expansion next year.—ALEX TULLO

INORGANIC CHEMICALS

▸ PQ launches initial public offering Silicates and zeolite catalyst maker PQ has launched an initial public offering

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C&EN | CEN.ACS.ORG | SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

Clariant, Huntsman spar with activist investor Activist investor White Tale Holdings has increased its stake in Clariant to 15% to further its campaign to break up the company’s merger with Huntsman Corp. In a letter to Clariant’s board, White Tale, a venture of hedge fund Corvex and investment fund 40 North, says the deal “both significantly destroys existing Clariant shareholder value and prevents Clariant from pursuing multiple alternative and immediate opportunities to unlock value for its shareholders.” The investor says Clariant should instead sell its plastics and coatings business and become a pure-play specialties company. Clariant defends the deal, saying Huntsman has evolved into primarily a specialties business and is a good fit. Further, it claims the pairing creates substantial value for shareholders, will save $400 million a year in costs, and provides an opportunity to further adjust its combined portfolio. Huntsman also struck back, saying, “In an apparent effort to engineer a short-term rise in the Clariant stock price, White Tale has advanced a destructive, high risk strategy of dismantling Clariant and denying all other stakeholders of the company the sustainable, long-term benefits of this compelling combination.”—MELODY BOMGARDNER

of 33 million of its shares—about 30% of shares outstanding—hoping to raise as much as $767 million at a maximum share price of $23.00. Proceeds will be used to pay down debt. The firm initially planned to go public in 2014. Instead, owner Carlyle Group sold a stake in the company to private equity firm CCMP. Last year, CCMP arranged a merger of the former Solvay sulfuric acid business with PQ. In 2016, PQ had a loss of nearly $80 million on sales of $1.4 billion. Credit ratings agency Moody’s calls the offering “credit positive” for PQ.—MARC REISCH

ENERGY STORAGE

▸ Albemarle has new lithium technology Albemarle says it will be able to increase its lithium production in Chile’s Salar de Atacama using new, more efficient technology for extracting the mineral from brine. If the process proves commercially viable, it will help the company extract as much as 125,000 metric tons per year of lithium carbonate equivalent from the brine starting in the early 2020s; its current annual production is 80,000 metric tons. Albemarle has asked the Chilean Economic Development Agency to increase its lithium quota.—MELODY

BOMGARDNER

INVESTMENT

▸ Air Products plans Saudi Arabia labs Air Products & Chemicals plans to build a technology center in Saudi Arabia focused on providing industrial gases expertise to local customers. The center, to be completed in 2019, will also become a base of collaboration with local universities, the company says. Separately, Cabot has opened a 4,500-m2 technology center at its regional Shanghai headquarters. About 30 researchers will support customers for Cabot’s specialty carbons, fumed metal oxides, ink-jet colorants, and other product lines.—MARC REISCH

SPECIALTY CHEMICALS

▸ Emerald completes benzoic expansion Emerald Kalama Chemical has completed a $40 million benzoic acid and benzaldehyde expansion in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The company says the expansion will support its hexyl cinnamic aldehyde (HCA) and amyl cinnamic aldehyde (ACA) plant in Widnes, England, which it acquired from Innospec in 2015, by providing it with additional benzaldehyde raw material. Benzaldehyde, HCA, and ACA are used as fra-

C R E D I T: A R K EM A

INVESTMENT

Emerald Kalama’s expanded plant in Rotterdam. grances in personal care and other applications. Emerald also makes the chemicals in Kalama, Wash. —ALEX TULLO

BUSINESS

▸ Venator to shutter color pigments plants Venator, the titanium dioxide and pigments maker spun off from Huntsman Corp. last month, plans to close color pigments manufacturing sites in Easton, Pa., and St. Louis by the end of 2017. The firm recently ramped up production at its Augusta, Ga., site, from which it will continue to supply customers. The closures are part of a $90 million efficiency drive that the firm expects to complete by the end of 2019.—

MARC REISCH

BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY

▸ Evonik buys into low-cost peptides Evonik Industries has acquired a minority stake in Numaferm, a spin-off

from Heinrich Heine University that is developing a process for making peptides using bacteria. Evonik is one of a handful of companies, including venture capital firms, that have invested a combined total of about $1.2 million in the spin-off. Numaferm claims it can make peptides at 1/1,000th of the price of standard chemical process costs (about $1.2 million per kg). Numaferm’s technology is cheaper partly because to make 1 kg of peptide, it uses 1 metric ton of raw materials compared with 25 metric tons for chemical processes, the firm says.—ALEX SCOTT

NUCLEIC ACIDS

▸ Alnylam and Sanofi report RNAi success Patisiran, an RNA interference drug being developed by Alnylam and Sanofi, met its primary goals in a Phase III study as a treatment for hereditary ATTR amyloidosis, a rare genetic disease. Alnylam plans to file a New Drug Application later this year. “We are proud to report the first-ever positive Phase III results for an RNAi therapeutic,” says Alnylam CEO John Maraganore. Alnylam’s stock price soared more than 20% on the news. The firm earlier experienced setbacks for two other RNAi drugs, revusiran and fitusiran.—MICHAEL MCCOY

Business Roundup

C R E D I T: EM E RA L D KA LA M A

▸ Sun Chemical is partnering with the Canadian firm GreenMantra Technologies to develop printing ink formulations based on recycled polystyrene. GreenMantra has a thermocatalytic technology to process hard-to-recycle polymers and is building a pilot plant in Brantford, Ontario, that will have 1,000 metric tons of capacity per year. ▸ Dow Chemical has collaborated with the plastic packaging firm Bemis and the plastics converter Polykar to produce plastic trash bags made from postindustrial scrap. The Ocean Conservan-

cy used the bags as part of its International Coastal Cleanup event, held last week. ▸ GreenLight Biosciences, a Boston-area start-up, raised $18 million in a fourth round of venture funding, which it will use to develop and field test its double-stranded RNA-based pest control products. Investors included Fall Line Capital, S2G Ventures, and Syngenta Ventures. ▸ Mitsui Chemicals and Osaka-based Microwave Chemical will collaborate to develop new manufacturing processes using microwaves.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

▸ Catalent acquires Cook Pharmica In a further consolidation of the contract drug-making industry, Catalent is purchasing Cook Pharmica and its 80,000-m2 facility in Bloomington, Ind., for $950 million. Catalent will pay $750 million cash when the deal closes, with the remainder delivered in four annual installments. The acquisition will bolster Catalent’s cell culture manufacturing and also biologics development, manufacturing, and packaging programs.—RYAN CROSS

PROCESS CHEMISTRY

▸ Matthey, Snapdragon in flow chemistry pact Johnson Matthey and Snapdragon Chemistry have formed a collaboration to bring continuous-flow chemistry to the pharmaceutical industry. Johnson Matthey is a leading supplier of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, made mostly in batch processes. Snapdragon was formed in 2015 by two professors to introduce flow chemistry to drug manufacturing. The partners say they will work together at their Boston-area facilities on projects for drug industry customers.—MICHAEL MCCOY

Mitsui Chemicals will dispatch some of its researchers to Microwave’s labs and will also invest in the firm. ▸ Recipharm will acquire a solid-dose drug plant in Leganés, Spain, from Roche. The Swedish contract research firm says it also signed an agreement to supply more than $40 million per year of solid-dose products to Roche. ▸ Immunocore will get up to $40 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop T-cell-receptor-based drugs against infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis and HIV. The British firm says the investment will allow it to expand

its focus beyond oncology. ▸ Ultragenyx, a rare-disease drugmaker, has bid to purchase gene therapy developer Dimension Therapeutics for about $138 million. Ultragenyx’s move trumped Regenxbio’s offer of about $86 million for Dimension last month. ▸ Honeywell will expand its capacity for Aclar poly(chlorotrifluoroethylene) pharmaceutical film at sites in Louisiana and Pennsylvania. The company says the project, to be completed in the coming years, will meet growing demand for blister packs and other forms of drug packaging.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 | CEN.ACS.ORG | C&EN

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